It has been eight months since 59-year-old Sharon Ostmanâ€™s half-naked body was discovered partially submerged in San Luis Obispo Creek downtown near the Mission. She had been savagely beaten, sexually assaulted, and murdered. For the last 20 years of her life, Ostman wandered the streets of SLO, homeless, weathered, and confused.Â Police and members of a frightened and vulnerable street community are still searching for her killer.Â
- SHARON OSTMAN: Raped and murdered in San Luis Obispo last summer
While a number of suspects have been mentioned and many theories cast, the strongest (but still-developing) scenario, based upon an ongoing investigation by New Times, is that Ostman was killed and then robbed by at least two, and possibly three, dangerous methamphetamine addicts. Ostman was known to have received a large disability check, and her friends claim that she was in possession of approximately $1,700 the night she was murdered. Very little money was found on her body, police say.
Since the beginning of this year, several people have contacted New Times saying that a transient identified as Hippie G openly confessed to Ostmanâ€™s murder to a group at a homeless encampment known as the Hooch in Albany, Oregon.
One, named Annie, told New Times in January, â€œHe said he killed the religious bitch because she was a narc.â€? Annie then described how horrified residents of the camp became enraged and allegedly killed the confessed murderer. In February, another woman, whom weâ€™ll call Sue, related an eerily similar story of a man who claimed to have killed a female police informant in SLO. Sue said the angry and frightened group then dragged the man from the encampment, beat him, and threw stones at him, though she said he survived the attack and was seen at a homeless shelter a few weeks later. Police think Hippie G, a known meth addict, may still be in the Albany area.
Another visitor to the Hooch sometime after Ostmanâ€™s death was a black transient named Whitey, who was treated to dinner by Ostman at Woodstockâ€™s Pizza just hours before her death. Friends report Ostman flashed a large amount of cash when she paid for the meal.
According to Sue, Whitey was seen staying at the Hooch with his girlfriend Abby. â€œShe told me Whitey and Hippie G each took $500 off Sharonâ€™s body,â€? Sue said. â€œAbby is afraid Whitey is going to get caught.â€? New Times has learned that Whitey and Abby were last seen heading for Nevada.
Another transient speed freak who may be involved in the murder goes by the name of Roger; Roger carried a chain and was known to dislike Ostman. Eddie Simmers, Ostmanâ€™s long-time friend and one of the last people to see her alive, says that Hippie G and Roger approached him a few weeks after Sharonâ€™s murder.â€œ They came off on me, said I was working for the cops, told me to talk about nothing,â€? Eddie says. â€œHippie G wanted to fight. He is a violent SOB.â€?
Just this week, a police detective and an investigator from the District Attorneyâ€™s office questioned Simmers for approximately two hours concerning Sharonâ€™s death. â€œThe police asked about Hippie G and Whitey,â€? Eddie said. â€œThey told me they think Hippie G killed Sharon.â€?