Hugues de La Plaza: DNA Evidence Indicates Lethal Attack, Claims Slain Man's Father

Hugues de la Plaza.jpg
Another twist in the troubling case of Hugues de la Plaza
Five years after Hugues de la Plaza was found dead in his Hayes Valley apartment with three gaping stab wounds, the slain man's father said the San Francisco Police Department has very little to tell him. But François de la Plaza had a little news of his own for the SFPD.

The elder de la Plaza this week traveled from his native Brittany to meet with police officials here. His only child's 2007 death became an international affair after San Francisco police advanced a theory that the 36-year-old French dual citizen stabbed himself three times before either cleaning the knife in his dying moments or tossing it out the window or otherwise stowing it in a place it has never since been located.

François de la Plaza last traveled to San Francisco in 2009, when he told SF Weekly "it is almost complicity from the police to keep saying this is a suicide." In the interregnum between his meetings with the SFPD, he now tells us, French police have made a potentially huge discovery: The crushed watch on Hugues de la Plaza's right wrist revealed traces of another person's DNA.

Speaking through a translator, de la Plaza told SF Weekly that French investigators believe Hugues was attacked outside his apartment -- where blood was discovered -- and his watch was damaged while he unsuccessfully attempted to fend off his assailant. French police think de la Plaza stumbled back into his apartment after the encounter and died there.

Joe Eskenazi
François de la Plaza's patience is wearing thin
The revelation that the DNA on de la Plaza's watch emanated from someone else is yet another blow against the SFPD's suicide theory. Disgusted by San Francisco authorities' refusal to classify the death as a homicide, François and Mireille de la Plaza filed a complaint in France, which led to French police being sent here to investigate. In a humiliating development for San Francisco, a federal judge sided with the French and allowed them to cart all of the evidence in the case back to Paris. There, French officials ruled that de la Plaza's death was "100 percent homicide." 

An independent analysis of the evidence by former San Francisco medical examiner Dr. Michael Ferenc, commissioned by the SFPD, also concluded unambiguously that de la Plaza was murdered. This report, disturbingly, was sat on by the police for more than seven months.

François de la Plaza has said all along, however, his goal isn't to punish the SFPD, but compel them to work with him. "The SFPD may not have done their job well, but we are not trying to get back at them. They can still help us toward our objective of finding the murderer," he said in 2009. "According to the French police, there is still a lot to do. There is still a lot of analysis they can do and a lot of leads to follow up."

Today, he told SF Weekly that the SFPD indicated to him that they will finally be mounting their own investigation and analysis of the DNA evidence. "But," he added, "it's a little late."

The police this week told us that de la Plaza's case is still not categorized as a homicide but a "suspicious death."

That is an understatement.

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Incompetent  Lazy, irresponsible. San Francisco police/sheriffs are lazy, overpaid, dirty. Even I know the man was stabbed outside the home, and ran back inside for safety. That is why there is no sign of struggle in the home. That is why the doors were bolted from the inside. That is why the blood marks show no streaks only round blood drops. He was stabbed fatally three time one to his abdomen, another to his chest, and the last to his carotid artery in his neck, OUTSIDE his home, then ran inside. In those type of traumas come shock, he moved slowly around his home in shock before his untimely death. This woman who claims his death is undetermined is so incompetent and complacent it's unbelievable. You can't walk in assuming you know it all. And when it doesn't make sense people just start making up their own theories with no scientific evidence, not even that, with no human sense at all. This woman doesn't understand human nature. She says he stabbed himself and washed the knife clean. I can't even say any more about the stupidity of this woman, and the laziness of the SFPD. I see this in SF way too often. Someone needs to speak up about what's really going on in SF with the police who you are supposed to trust. The sheriffs there who are supposed to help you. Corrupt, lazy, overpaid, complacent, irresponsible, pointing blame, this is pure crap. Good luck to this family to find the peace that they deserve. Good for the father to get a second and third opinion, rather than these people who cared nothing about the case to begin with. Shame.


I'm so sorry for those who loved Hugues de la Plaza.  I'm so glad to see that some physical evidence has been identified that is impossible to link with the suicide storyline - besides the poor guy dying alone behind a locked door or a wound that would cause rapid immobility & the knife nowhere to be found. 


It's interesting that the medical examiner claims to need someone to come forward & give evidence to change the manner of death to homicide.  During the 1st Phil Spector murder trial (in L.A.) the defense tried to discredit anything the medical examiner determined that didn't come directly from observations of the body of Lana Clarkson, such as her diary & emails.  Now a medical examiner in a different part of California says that evidence that is not from direct observation of the body is necessary to determine manner of death of a man whose body was found in a closed room, with no knife found.  


To me, it would take extraordinary evidence, such as a video of de la Plaza saying his farewell to the world on the night of his death - and the knife would have to be located in a place where a man bleeding severely & in shock could have been able to place it before returning to the apartment & locking the door.




I had gone through it thoroughly its really very informative and i really got to know a lot more from it .


I have been following this story all along and I always knew that this intelligent, handsome young man could not of died in the matter the police reported. I know that the DNA evidence will show his killer if they would just get off there butts and do something about it! I never Hugues, but his story has touched my heart and as a fellow criminal investigator, and an educated Forensic Scientist, they need to look deeper at this story and the evidence that has been left for them. It should not of taken so long.

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