Sunnyvale, Calif. • Bad things tended to happen to Glen Griggs’ girlfriends -- things that involved excessive amounts of alcohol and ended in untimely death.
But it wasn’t until the third woman died that foul play was suspected in any of them, and when the fourth woman he called his girlfriend was missing for a year, police concluded he was her killer. On the June day when Sunnyvale police intended to confront Griggs, he brandished a BB gun and officers killed him. Now they continue to sift the horrifying details of this 53-year-old handyman’s past, in hopes it might lead them to Molly Franquemont’s body.
The full facts of Griggs’ possible involvement in the deaths of the four women will probably never be known. Griggs was not named as a suspect in the cases of the other three women, who died between 2003 and 2006, and two of them were not investigated as homicides at the time. Sunnyvale police Capt. Jeff Hunter said the death of the third woman, Kelley Daniel, a homeless woman whose body was found at the Sunnyvale Materials Recovery and Transfer station, is “obviously suspicious.”
But in the warrant for Griggs’ arrest on suspicion of murdering Franquemont, police detailed his relationship with all three other women and noted the similarities between Franquemont’s disappearance and Daniel’s death.
Griggs “has a repeated pattern of being present or associated with dead white females who have problems with alcohol,” detective Alan Harnett wrote in the affidavit.
Police believe Griggs killed Franquemont, who began living in his home in January 2013 after she was evicted from her apartment. Her last contact with her family was on March 9, 2013.
Griggs’ uncle, Robert Griggs, who owns the North Fair Oaks home, said his nephew was to blame for not cooperating with police and instead brandishing a weapon as officers tried to arrest him the morning of last June 5.
But he doubts his nephew committed murder. ”It’s a weird situation,” Robert Griggs said. “He picks up these women who are not well, they drink a lot and police think he’s murdering them.
“I don’t think he’s the kind of guy who would want to hurt a woman.”
Daniel’s death was ruled an “unattended death since it could not be determined how or when she received the injuries that caused her death,” the affidavit says.
In 2006, Griggs told investigators he last saw Daniel at his home on Sept. 1 of that year. Her body was found at the garbage center four days later, but the coroner could not determine when she died. A toxicology report determined Daniel’s blood alcohol content was 0.246 percent -- meaning she was severely impaired. A year earlier, Griggs called the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety to report another woman’s death. He told the police that he found the woman, with whom he was living, in bed after he returned home from a walk. The coroner determined the woman, Beverly Donaldson, 48, died accidentally from acute ethanol intoxication.
Another woman, Evalene Jordan, 38, died in the home where Griggs was living in Tuolumne County in October 2003. He’s the one who called the Sheriff’s Office there to report her death, which the coroner said was from natural causes. She had a 0.31 blood alcohol content.
But that wasn’t the first time sheriff’s deputies had been called to the home. Griggs was arrested a year earlier on suspicion of beating Jordan, court records show. Deputies in Tuolomne County took nine photos of bruises on Jordan’s body. But the case was dismissed, though the affidavit did not indicate why.
Sunnyvale police first contacted Griggs about Franquemont on March 20, 2013, after one of her friends became concerned about not hearing from her. Griggs told police Franquemont worked in Redwood City and was not home. He allowed officers to search the house. Police began investigating Franquemont’s disappearance in May after a family member filed a missing persons report. Police learned that Franquemont was fearful of Griggs and had sent text messages to a friend describing his odd behavior.
Her last cellphone call was on March 12, 2013.
Sunnyvale police interviewed Griggs three times, including on July 31, 2013, when he told them that Franquemont and he were focused on their new life together, were very much in a relationship and that “anyone concerned about Molly should know she was doing fine and was very happy.”
He told detectives that Franquemont had moved to Southern California to take a temporary job in a nursery but came to Sunnyvale once a week. Detectives set up surveillance cameras on his house, but there was no sign of Franquemont on the days Griggs said she visited, the affidavit said.
The affidavit also includes information about Griggs’ connection to the death of a 6-year-old Florida boy in 1980. A friend of Griggs, Larry Chartrand, confessed to strangling the boy inside a mobile home trailer, where Griggs admitted seeing the boy’s body with a belt wrapped around his neck. Griggs said he helped Chartrand dig a hole under the trailer; the boy’s body was eventually found in the hole.
In 2006, Griggs told Sunnyvale police detectives he testified against Chartrand and was granted probation. He was convicted of accessory after the fact in the homicide.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him at Twitter.com/markmgomez.