by Virginia McCullough


What did Contra Costa think about the three defendants involved in hiding Anna and Emily Nunez from their court ordered custodian, Danny Nunez?  On November 6, 2002 Contra Costa County Senior Inspector Mark Ernst, working for the District  Attorney, states in his own handwriting on the form The Undersigned Requests that Bail be Increased the following:


In addition to being able to orchestrate the concealment of 2 young children for over 6 months, Peterson is prepared to "disappear".  His vehicles and property are in his wife's name only.

Peterson does not recognize the authority of this court or the integrity and efficacy of law enforcement and court actions.

Peterson paid individuals to detain the children and was so brazen as to offer to act as a go-between with the authorities and the children's caretakers.


He is a flight risk as an unregistered sex offender who has bragged about his ability to remain unregistered and undetected.  When arrested he was found in a motel in hiding under an alias and attempted to flee out the back window.  He has no permanent residence and no regular place to live.  He has been instrumental in concealing 2 children from authorities and parents, by moving them from location to location, for months.

He has failed as a probationer in the past and was sent to prison for the violation.

When the authorities were closing in on him, Maning disclosed an intention to leave the country and threatened that he would leave no witnesses behind.


Upon hearing that the children were recovered after months of concealment she stated that her only regret was that she had not taken the children out of the country.

She propositioned an individual to kill her ex-husband in return for a vehicle.

In this case Nunez forcibly removed her children from caretakers, took them out of state, and left them with an organization that was able to keep the children concealed for over 6 months.  During that entire period she notoriously and openly violated court orders by refusing to reveal the location of her children.

Nunez damaged jail property upon learning that her children were recovered.  

These few paragraphs describing each individual was Mr. Ernst's conclusions drawn from his many months of investigation on this case.   All quoted information is taken directly from Investigator Ernst's reports dated May 16, 2002 and October 7, 2002.

Ernst's participation began in earnest (no pun intended) in April 2002 when the investigator received several phone calls from Danny Nunez complaining that the Lafayette Police Department would not take a police report about his missing daughters who had been picked up at day care by their mother and their sister.   The Lafayette Police Department was refusing Danny Nunez's demand for a police report because  "the court order he was showing them did not give full custody of the children to him.  It still listed custody as a 50/50 split with Kelli.  The Police Department told him that they considered the taking of the children by Kelli as a visitation.  They also told him that if the children were not returned by Monday, they might consider it an abduction.  Danny told me (Ernst) he would return to court on Monday to resolve the custody issue."

The fact that Danny Nunez could not get a police report taken following the removal of the children from their day care facility on April 26, 2002  is very interesting,  because Inspector Ernst states in his report dated October 7, 2002 that "On April 10, 2002 Danny brought new court documents to the day-care center.  These documents indicated that he now had full custody of the girls, and Kelli was not to call or contact the girls at the day-care center."  If Danny Nunez could not supply the Lafayette Police Department with full custody documents on April 26, 2002 how could he have provided the children's day care center with full custody documents six days earlier?   Someone is lying here.  Who is the liar?

Did Danny Nunez falsify legal documents and give them to the day care?  Did his attorney Paula Lorentzen provide her client documents that she knew ahead of time that Judge Judy Craddick would sign anyway a week into the future?  Were the Lafayette police department incorrect in their analysis of the 50/50 split custody that Danny Nunez insisted gave him sole custody of Anna and Emily?

Even though the Lafayette Police Department still viewed the mother's taking of the children as a visitation, their conclusion did not prevent Inspector Ernst from immediately becoming involved.  As soon as Danny Nunez phoned him, the dedicated investigator ran the vehicle license number of the car Danny Nunez said was involved and found the plate was not correct because the car "did not match the description used in the abduction."

"On April 29, 2002 at 1045 hours I (Ernst) received a telephone call from Attorney Paula Lorentzen.  She indicated that she was representing Danny Nunez in this matter.  She told me the children had not been returned.  She also indicated that she would be going to court today to clarify the custody order for the children.  Danny had checked the house where Kelli had been living in Concord and she had apparently moved out."

It is important to note here that on the 29th of April 2002 Danny Nunez's attorney acknowledged the custody order for the children had still not been clarified by the court.  Yet her client had given documents to the children's day care showing he had sole custody on April 10th of 2002, a full nine days before this call that Lorentzen makes to Inspector Ernst.   As blood splatter expert, Dr. Henry Lee said during the trial of O.J. Simpson, "Something not right."

"On April 30, 2002 at 1440 hours I (Ernst) received a telephone call from Danny.  He had gone to Concord this morning and went to the Wren Ave house with the police department.  They had found 2 dogs at the house, but otherwise the house appeared to be vacant.  They learned that several days ago a U-haul truck was at the house.  Kelli had told a friend that she was getting the children and leaving the area.  Danny was on his way to Lafayette to make a police report.  After making the report he was coming by my office to talk to me."

"At 1555 hours Danny Nunez came to my office and met with me.  The Lafayette Police Department still had not taken a police report in this matter.  The custody order was still inaccurate and confusing.  I (Ernst) called the police department and spoke to Detective Nugent.  He assured me the matter was being clarified and that a report would be taken the following day."

Here we have the Senior Investigator working diligently to accommodate father Danny Nunez without any police report being taken.  How many citizens would be able to walk into the district attorney's office of Contra Costa County, ask for the chief investigator to begin investigating a case wherein no police report had been issued?  That minor matter did not deter Investigator Ernst, who was now industriously following every lead Danny Nunez provided.  This public servant contacted Kelli Nunez's former employer, chased down her State Disability Insurance, located her oldest daughter's school, and "contacted the United States Postal Inspectors to gather information about the P.O. Box that Kelli had recently purchased in Concord.  After supplying  the proper documentation I (Ernst) obtained a copy of the Post Office Box application.  The application was dated April 23, 2002.  As well as Kelli, it listed Judy De La Rosa (Kelli's mother) and Richard Peterson as individuals authorized to receive mail in the P.O. Box."

Kelli Nunez had placed Rich Peterson on her post office box so any monies coming in would be used to provide for and protect her children while they remained under the direction and control of Peterson.

"On May 1, 2002 at 1450 hours I (Ernst) met with Judy De La Rosa at her home in Brentwood."  Ernst analysis of the interview says, in part, "Judy was defensive and appeared to be protecting Kelli.  She told me that Kelli and Danny had been fighting over the kids for a long time.  She also told me about an incident that occurred recently in Concord.  Apparently the police were called to Kelli's home on Wren Ave.  They eventually "kicked down" the front door, arrested Kelli and gave Anna and Emily to Danny.  She felt this was totally uncalled for and illegal.  She considers the police corrupt and driven by large egos." Concord police report CR#02-09431)

In the incident just related by Judy De La Rosa to Investigator Ernst, "Danny had gone to the house to pick-up the girls.  Kelly refused to open the door and eventually the officers kicked the door open and arrested Kelli.  The girls were returned to the custody of Danny.  The question has to be again asked, if Danny Nunez could not supply a full custody order to the Lafayette police department on April  26, 2002 or April 29, 2002 how could he have supplied a full custody order to the Concord police department that would justify their actions of kicking down a mother's door to rip her daughters from her arms and arrest her?  April 10, 2002 was a very busy day for Danny Nunez.  He was supplying his children's day care center with sole custody orders and supplying the Concord police with sole custody orders and yet these orders were not available nine days later according to his own attorney Paula Lorentzen.

It is now apparent that Danny Nunez not only has the attention of the chief investigator but that he had also previously had the Concord Police on his side.  When one reads Senior Inspector Mark Ernst's report something begins to smell badly in this case.

By May 3, 2002 Danny Nunez's private investigator, probably Chris Hocum who works under the auspices of attorney Paula Lorentzen, had located Rich Peterson's home.  Danny reports these findings by phone to Mark Ernst.  Investigator Ernst immediately begins following up on Danny's leads.

By May 8, 2002 the game was over for mother Kelli Nunez.  She appeared in Judge Judy Craddick's court room in Department #9 supported by her mother and step father.  "She refused to answer any questions about Anna and Emily and also refused to reveal where the children were being sequestered.  Judge Craddick then ordered Kelli arrested and taken into custody for contempt of court.  Kelli was held without bail until she revealed the location of the children."  Kelli Nunez has not been free since Craddick's ruling that day.

Now what will happen to Anna and Emily when they are found?  As it turns out Danny Nunez's champion Mark Ernst answered that question in his own May  16, 2002 report on page 8.  "A custody order, per section 3130, was completed giving myself or another law enforcement officer temporary custody of Anna and Emily."  So how is it that when the children were found they were delivered to Channel 7, ABC-TV?

Virginia McCullough © 7-2-03

THE KELLI NUNEZ STORY:  Click.  [Part 9]  Click. [Part 8] CLICK. [Part 7] CLICK. [Part 6] CLICK. [Part 5] CLICK. [Part 4] CLICK.  [Part 3] CLICK.  [Part 2] CLICK  [Part 1]