RANCHO SANTA FE — Nearly two years after the body of a popular veterinarian was found in a driveway at 6792 Paseo Delicias, authorities are still working on unraveling the mystery behind his demise.
San Diego County Crime Stoppers is seeking information relating to the homicide of Dr. Robert Stonebreaker, 53, who owned the Animal & Bird Hospital of Del Mar and also founded Freeflight, a nonprofit organization for rescued birds that includes an exotic bird park the public can visit.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.
On Jan. 16, 2010, California Highway Patrol officers responded to a report about a vehicle in a ditch when they found an unoccupied 2008 Porsche Carrera in a small ravine.
They didn’t find evidence on the car that led them to believe any occupants could be injured, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, so the vehicle was considered abandoned and towed away.
But the next morning authorities were called out again when a homeowner at Paseo Delicias located a deceased man on the driveway of the homeowner’s house.
The man was identified as Robert Stonebreaker.
His body was more than 100 yards away from where the Porsche had been found.
Lt. Dennis Brugos, who has since retired from the sheriff’s homicide unit, said in previous news reports that the blunt force trauma found to Robert Stonebreaker was inconsistent with a fall.
The county’s medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide and not the result of a traffic collision, according to the sheriff’s department.
The case is the most recent of several “cold case” files handled by the sheriff’s department, but Sgt. Dave Martinez said the medical examiner and the sheriff’s departments are still working on it.
“I know that the case agent is now reviewing the case with key parts of the investigation,” he said, and added that included reviewing the case with the medical examiner.
When Martinez was questioned about whether the Dr.’s wife Pamela Stonebreaker was a suspect in the veterinarian’s death, he said, “We can’t rule out anyone at this moment.”
Stonebreaker’s business and Freeflight have continued under the direction of his wife.
Pamela Stonebreaker’s attorneys filed documents in federal court on July 18, 2011, which denied she was involved with her husband’s death.
Those documents give detailed accounts of Pamela’s whereabouts and actions on both the day of her husband’s disappearance/accident and the following day.
Her phone records show that after her husband failed to come home for dinner, phone calls seeking his whereabouts were made that night and the next morning.
The morning that Stonebreaker’s body was found, Pamela was out of town at a volleyball tournament with her daughter and several others, and had left her home at 5 a.m.
“Later that same day, while I was still at the volleyball tournament, I received a phone call from an investigator for the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office. The investigator told me that Bob was dead and that the cause of death was a head injury. This telephone call was when I learned for the first time that Bob had died,” part of her written statement said.
In a previous interview with The Coast News, Pamela said: “Some days I am so teary-eyed and confused because there are no answers or no reasons why … I just cannot believe after 26 years working every day with my husband that I am in this position.”
Nathan Arrington, Pamela’s attorney, said during a telephone interview in early January 2012 that “a neutral guardian has now filed a document indicating there was no evidence Pam was involved.”
On Nov. 23, 2011, Judge Patricia Yim Cowett filed with the court a document that states that as her position of guardian ad litem over the three Stonebreaker children, she does not agree that the children have any right to claim the insurance money because she is unaware of evidence sufficient to justify that; and that she does not oppose Pamela’s motion for the money to be deposited to her.
Arrington requested that the court documents be used to answer any questions, and they show that Pamela has been trying to collect nearly $3 million in life insurance funds from three separate companies regarding her husband’s death, but has been denied any money despite the motion for the disbursement of funds in a lawsuit against the companies, according to court documents.
According to a section of the law, a beneficiary of a life insurance policy must be ruled out as a suspect because a person who kills the policyholder is not entitled to receive any benefits.
Anyone with any information relating to the homicide may call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.