SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The boyfriend of a missing woman whose body was found along a remote coastal highway killed himself Tuesday, shortly after the body was identified, by jumping off the Bay Bridge, police said. He was under police surveillance at the time.
The boyfriend, Darion Sable, had told police that Jerusha Briley, 20, disappeared Saturday morning while going to buy groceries for her 23-month-old son, Gabriel.
Sable jumped off an approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Tuesday afternoon, San Francisco police spokesman Dewayne Tully said. He fell about 100 feet, landing on pavement in a fenced-in area.
Fifteen minutes earlier and five blocks away, Sable had been released on his own recognizance after being jailed overnight on a drug charge, police confirmed.
Police had followed Sable after his release to see where he was going to go and to see if he would lead them to any new information in Briley's death, Sgt. James Deignan of the San Francisco Police Department.
Police said they originally thought Sable was going to try to hitchhike, but contacted the California Highway Patrol when he continued to walk onto the bridge. They said Sable probably did not know he was being followed and that they had no time to stop him from jumping.
Homicide Inspector Tony Casillas wouldn't say whether police had told Sable he was a suspect in his girlfriend's death before letting him go.
"The investigation is still in its primary stages," he said. "Everyone is innocent until proven guilty."
Sgt. Doug Pittman of the Marin County Sheriff's Office said Sable was a suspect in Briley's death, but had not been singled out as the primary suspect. He said the sheriff's office is not yet focusing on one person as a suspect.
Police also haven't determined what killed Briley, whose body was found Monday along Highway 1 about five miles north of Muir Beach in Marin County. Footprints and tiremarks found in the gravel were being studied.
Family members were told Tuesday that the body had been identified as Briley's. Her childhood friend and Gabriel's godmother, Devon Rath, told The Associated Press that the family was too distraught to comment.
Sable had called police Saturday to report Briley missing, saying she wasn't the type to leave the house, let alone her toddler, for more than a few hours without letting people know where she was.
Friends said Briley had been weaning Gabriel off breast-feeding and was making calls to invite people to his birthday party two weeks from now. The sheriff's office would not comment on the relationship between Sable and Briley's son.
Sable told missing persons investigators that Briley had been seeing a counselor for "possible depression," but that he had no more information on the subject.
But Rath told a different story to the San Francisco Examiner - that Briley was getting counseling to improve her relationship with her boyfriend and thereby provide her son with a healthy family.
"If she wanted to get away from it all, she would have called someone," her 15-year-old sister, Naomi Briley, told the Examiner. "If she had problems, she would have called someone to take the baby."