BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. — Fugitive ex-police officer Christopher Dorner was hiding at least five days in a mountain condominium before surprising the owners, tying them up and stealing their car, the couple said, hours before his death in a fiery confrontation with police.
Karen and Jim Reynolds said Dorner was in their rental condo in the San Bernardino Mountains about noon Tuesday when they arrived to clean it. The condo is across the street from a command post authorities set up in the massive manhunt for Dorner.
During a 15-minute ordeal, the couple said Dorner bound them and put pillowcases on their heads.
"He said 'I don't have a problem with you, so I'm not going to hurt you,' " said Jim Reynolds, 66. "I didn't believe him; I thought he was going to kill us."
Police have not corroborated the Reynolds' account, but it renews questions about the thoroughness of a search for a man they said was armed and extremely dangerous as they hunted him across the Southwest and Mexico.
"They said they went door-to-door but then he's right there under their noses. Makes you wonder if the police even knew what they were doing," resident Shannon Schroepfer said. "He was probably sitting there laughing at them the whole time."
Officers, who had gathered outside daily for briefings in the hunt for the fired Los Angeles officer who launched a deadly revenge campaign, were stunned by the revelation.
On Thursday, remains found in the burned cabin where Dorner made his last stand were identified as his. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.
He has been connected to four killings, including one during his final standoff.