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Part 31: Secret Government Program Linked To Local Murders?

There are new developments in a year-long News Channel 3 investigation.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is looking into possible connections between a triple murder in 1981, and murders-suicide in 2005 that claimed 6 lives.

We have internal documents from the Cold Case Division of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department showing the depth of the investigation.

We will not reveal the investigators’ identity at this time since the documents show their lives may be in danger.

Now, we are learning the murders may be a cover up for one of the federal government’s most secret computer programs.

“PROMIS” is the name of one of the government’s most secret computer database programs.

Computer programmer Michael Riconosciuto wrote in an affadavit that major modifications to the program were made in Indio.

On July 1, 1981, Fred Alvarez, his girlfriend Patty Castro and friend Ralph Boger were shot to death on Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. There was a house here that has since been bulldozed. Nobody was ever arrested for the shooting.

Family friends say Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Vice Chairman Fred Alvarez was going to blow the whistle on

documents from the early 1980’s showing a business partnership between defense contractor Wackenhut Services and Cabazon Manager John Phillip Nichols to form “Cabazon Arms.”

One of their alleged projects was the PROMIS computer program. Database and pattern recognition software was a new source of information and power in the early 1980s.

It starts when the program’s designers, Inslaw Corporation, accused the U.S. Justice Department of stealing the software for their own foreign policy purposes.

This programmer testified he altered the program to create what’s called “a back door” to allow government spying.

This happened while working on Cabazon Indian Sovereign land.

“The parties that were involved in the distribution of this software were involved in covert operations. They were involved in Nicaragua and Central America. And they were involved in operation in the Middle East,” said Riconosciuto in an 1993 interview.

A U.S. Justice Department memo from 1985 shows the PROMIS software was being sold to Middle Eastern arms dealers and wanted “no paperwork or customs inspections” to interfere.

Even TV show “Unsolved Mysteries” got on the case when the last journalist to investigate this spy scandal was found dead in his hotel room.

Danny Casolero’s wrists were slashed in 1991. It was ruled a suicide.

But his reporter notes disappeared, and the book on the conspiracy he was to title “Indio” was never finished.

Congressional hearings were held in 1992.

“The report involves the committee’s investigation into serious allegations that high level Department of Justice officials were involved in the criminal conspiracy to force Inslaw, a small company, out of business.” stated Rep. Jack Brooks at the opening of the hearings.

The hearings ended inconclusively.

The PROMIS software was allegedly altered on tribal land in Indio with the lack of federal oversight. Just like Microsoft Windows, the database program kept up with the times, upgraded several times over the years.

But PROMIS came back to haunt America in ways never imagined.

As Brit Hume reported in an October 2001 FOX News newscast, “A disturbing indication that Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent accused of spying for the Russians in what officials said at the time of his arrest was a ‘massive security breach’ ended up helping Osama bin Laden. Correspondent Carl Cameron reports Hanson sold the Russians an extremely sensitive piece of U.S. Technology. And they in turn sold it to Al Qaeda’s terrorist network.”

From an office in Indio, to foreign capitals all over the world; several murder investigations are connected to this spy scandal. Whether answers can still be found 27 years later remains in the hands of the Sheriff’s Cold Case squad.

The internal documents we’ve obtained and confidential interviews we’ve done reveal the Riverside County Sheriff’s Cold Case squad is investigating whether DA Investigator David McGowan was on this 27 year old murder case before his 2005 death. News Channel 3 is still looking into whether they’ve concluded that angle of their questioning.

The Cabazon Indian Tribe has still not responded to our questions about this cold case being reopened.

If you’ve missed any part of this 31-part exclusive investigation, more than a year in the making, click on the right hand side of the homepage on “Special Reports” and then the icon that says “Inside the DA’s Office and DHS Police.”

KESQ News Team


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