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UPDATED: Authorities search home of missing Barstow woman
Sheriff's officials take ‘quite a few items' from Delzell family's property
BARSTOW • The family home of a Barstow woman reported missing a month ago was searched by sheriff’s deputies Wednesday, though they have not officially ruled her disappearance a crime or named any suspects.
Priscilla Delzell didn’t return to her residence in North Barstow Irwin Estates on July 18 after her family reported that she had left for a midday walk into the nearby desert.
Authorities were acting on a property-wide search warrant issued late last week, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Glenn Mellor said from the home in the 29000 block of Exeter Street on Wednesday.
“We’re looking for any leads,” Mellor said, when asked why deputies were searching the home.
He declined to comment on what specifically deputies were looking for, but he later said they “took quite a few items” from the property.
A voicemail left Wednesday for Carl Delzell was not immediately returned.
On a Facebook page established to help in the search for Delzell, an administrator believed to be her husband, Carl, wrote Wednesday afternoon that the home had been “ransacked” by authorities.
“(Sheriff’s) took everything that had to do with our effort to find Priscilla,” the post read on the page titled, Search for Priscilla Delzell.
“They took every kind of anything that is memory related...cameras, video cameras, tablets, Ipads, spare hard drives, CD/DVDs, flash drives...it’s all gone (and just for spite, they took the Xboxes),” the post continued.
The poster claimed the family’s cellphones and computers were confiscated by authorities, leaving them without means of communication.
The poster also questioned the amount of resources authorities used in executing the search warrant compared to when “they sent out (one) officer to take a (missing person’s) report” on July 18.
In a follow-up comment on the post, the person wrote that they were able to make one “junk” computer work, which had been left at the home.
Approximately 10 deputies arrived Wednesday at around 8:15 a.m. They were gone by about 10 a.m.
As the search for clues continues, it’s unclear if the disappearance of Delzell should be treated as a crime, Mellor said.
No one had been named a suspect, he added.
Delzell, a mother of three in her 40s, suffers from bipolar disorder and is in need of medication, according to her husband.
Carl Delzell told the Desert Dispatch on Aug. 8 that his wife was “getting depressed” and “kind of in a downward spiral” at the time of her disappearance.
He also previously expressed discontent with the efforts of the Sheriff’s Department in searching for her. He said that authorities missed opportunities to interview witnesses and collect “basic evidence,” including reports from search-and-rescue teams and surveillance video from the Brownies Liquor store near the family’s residence.
He said he had felt mistreated by local authorities. He said detectives wanted to confiscate or copy his cellphone and computer, search the family property and have him and the children submit to polygraph tests.
“I know they needed to investigate the family,” Carl Delzell said, “but I did not expect to be threatened like that.”
Mellor has said previously that authorities would not comment specifically on anything to do with the family.
Deputies on Wednesday didn’t search any other locations, Mellor confirmed.
Ground and air searches immediately following the woman’s disappearance last month turned up nothing.
A tip that she was spotted at a Pennsylvania convenience store had been unsubstantiated, Mellor told the Desert Dispatch on Aug. 8.
He also said authorities had no reason to believe she was picked up by a motorist passing along Interstate 15, as some have suggested.
Mellor said Wednesday that the investigation had not revealed any new leads that authorities wanted to share at this time.
Anybody with information is urged to contact the Barstow Sheriff’s Station at 760-256-4838. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may also call the WE-TIP hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.
Shea Johnson can be reached at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com or 760-256-4126.