New Details in Murder of Elizabeth Sullivan – Navy Mom Who Went Missing in 2014 and Found in 2016

by on February 16, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

New details have emerged in the murder case of Elizabeth Sullivan, a Point Loma Navy spouse and mother, who went missing in 2014 and whose body was found two years later floating in San Diego Bay right off Point Loma.

Details came out during the arraignment for murder of Matthew Sullivan on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, in Superior Court in San Diego. Matthew Sullivan is the victim’s husband and chief suspect in the crime.

New elements of the crime now known include the fact that a knife used to slay Elizabeth and that her body had been hidden for a while – in some unknown location – for when her body was discovered in the water, it was badly decomposed but hadn’t been in water all that long. Her body was found in October 2016 – she had been missing since 2014.

Also, local media have found that a friend of Elizabeth’s called 911 the day she disappeared, concerned where she was, and told police Elizabeth was “very afraid” of her husband.

Matthew Sullivan, 32, was arrested on Jan. 31 outside his home in Wyoming, Delaware, extradited to San Diego and charged with one count of first-degree murder. A judge set the former Navy man’s bail at $2 million.

The knife allegedly used was discovered in the attic at the couple’s house in Liberty Station, and as prosecutors asserted during the arraignment, the knife had “key evidence” that linked the husband to the killing of the mother of his two children.

Elizabeth and Matthew Sullivan. Screengrab from NBC7 vid of home video.

There had been ongoing domestic violence in the couple’s marriage, but Matthew was never arrested or charged with a crime. Prosecutors said Matthew’s motive to kill Elizabeth’s was rooted in this history. Supposedly, Elizabeth was in the process of leaving Matthew at the time of her murder. NBC7 reported:

In February 2017, police reports obtained by NBC 7 showed that Matthew had called 911 on the same day Elizabeth vanished in October 2014. He reported his wife was “going to frame him and have him arrested,” and also claimed she had made a mess at their home.

NBC 7 also discovered records from another 911 call made by Elizabeth in March 2014. In that call, she told authorities there was a history of domestic violence in her marriage and that she and Matthew had been arguing over custody of their two young daughters and child support. As documented in that police report, Elizabeth told officers she was concerned that their fighting might escalate. At that time, Matthew told the SDPD that his wife had drained their shared bank account.

A final call to 911 was made on Oct. 14, 2014, from the Sullivans’ home by a friend concerned over Elizabeth’s whereabouts. The friend told police Sullivan was “very afraid” of her husband.

The OB Rag has followed this tragic case since the beginning, as it seemed then that there wasn’t too much attention being given it by the police or the mainstream media. (NBC7 was the exception.) Questions remained during the over 3-year investigation of the case – like, why did police first treat it as a “missing person” case – despite the history of domestic violence and fears by Elizabeth of her husband? In the end, police diligence paid off.

It was Oct. 14, 2014 when Elizabeth was reported missing. There were initially a couple of leads but they didn’t pan out. A text message sent on Oct. 13, 2014, was the last contact Elizabeth had with loved ones. Her phone was then turned off. Detectives found her car at home, but no trace of Elizabeth.

Then on Oct. 6, 2016, Elizabeth’s decomposed body was found floating off Liberty Station near Farragut Road, about a half-mile from where she had last been seen alive years earlier. It was then that SDPD felt confident she had been a victim of a homicide. A coincidence or not, her body was found on the very day that Matthew Sullivan getting set to move out of state and was packing up his stuff.

Police believe Elizabeth was murdered around the time of her disappearance in 2014. When her body was found, it was in an advanced stage of decomposition but police don’t think it had been in the bay all that time.

On a side note, it appears that our current District Attorney held a news conference after Sullivan’s arraignment surrounded by other law enforcement officials, ostensibly to discuss this case. But from media accounts of the presser, it seems that Stephan – who is running for a permanent position as DA – used it as a campaign appearance to flout her credentials – especially her new found priority against domestic violence.

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