search button

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

Press Release

Arrest in Cold Case Murder Investigation

DATE/TIME:          October 14, 2013

LOCATION:           Ironage Road - desert area of Twentynine Palms

VICTIM:                 Jean Leppan, age 33 years old in 2004, Yucca Valley

SUSPECT:            Charles Patrick Leppan, age 41, Clarkson, Michigan


Jean Leppan was married to Charles Patrick Leppan until they divorced in June of 2003. Charles was a sergeant in the Marine Corp stationed in Twentynine Palms.

On March 3, 2004 the body of a female adult was found in a shallow grave off of Ironage Road in the desert area of Twentynine Palms. The female suffered from traumatic injuries and was unable to be identified at the time. 


In May of 2004 the deceased female was identified as Jean Leppan.  Homicide detectives worked the case, however no charges were filed at the time and the case went cold.


Recently, Cold Case Homicide Detectives conducted numerous interviews and search warrants were served.  They developed new information and submitted it to the District Attorney for review. An arrest warrant was issued for Charles Leppan.


On Sunday, October 13, 2013, Detectives Gerald Davenport and Ryan Ford traveled to Clarkston, Michigan, to interview Charles Leppan. Charles was arrested following the interview. 


Charles was booked at Oakland County Jail and is awaiting extradition to California for the murder of Jean Leppan.


The cold case team is funded in part through a $500,000 grant from the US Department of Justice Grant "Solving Cold cases with DNA". The cold case team consists of two detectives and two district attorneys. The district attorneys are John Thomas and Denise Yoakum.


Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Homicide Detail, Detectives Ryan Ford or Jerry Davenport at (909)387-3589.  Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at


Refer:          Public Affairs Division

Phone No.:  (909) 387-3700


John McMahon, Sheriff-Coroner

San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

C/o Sheriff’s Public Affairs Division

655 E. Third Street

San Bernardino, California 92415-0061

Telephone: (909) 387-3700

Stay Connected