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An Appreciative Wife

August 9, 2010

John and I led a varied and unusual life and I would not have changed a thing. From varied police work, private investigations, polygraph and all they entailed and still led a fairly normal family life and wonderful fun times with friends and family. Most civilians could not understand all we went thru, especially in our private investigation work of 27 years, but we touched many unusual lives.

See some example stories I wrote here.

So you see, it is not all criminal, Court Appointed cases. There are a lot like these examples. I am very proud to have been John’s wife/secretary/fellow investigator/ship mate/mother to his children but most of all, constant companion and FUN ORGANIZER.


LOVE TO ONE AND ALL,  Sandra S. Von Colln

Lost baby found in another state, by phone

August 9, 2010

A New Jersey family and former landlord called us in Ca. and said their druggie daughter had been in another state’s hospital and did not know where her infant daughter was. John found out she frequented Truck Stops, so he started calling many of them. He knew the daughter mumbled (Sparks) in the hospital so he tried questioning about someone with that name or from a place of that name. Also of anyone that had a passenger with a baby. One call to Texas got a NO but by accident, John called the same number back a second time. The lady was glad he did as she could talk then. Seems she knew a person by that name and he complained about a girl that left her baby in his truck and left. This truck driver took the baby to his mother in Michigan and she took the baby to a Christian Home to be adopted out. It seems the adoption was in progress when the grandparents notified the home. Since the grandmother was confined to a wheel chair and both were old, they agreed to let the adoption go thru. Both adopted parents were well educated, with means and nice people and agreed that the natural grandparents could continue with contacts thru the child’s life. All were very happy with the results. John only charged for the long distance phone calls, 2 full days of them. WHAT A GUY.

Unidentified murdered transient parents found

August 8, 2010

An unidentified transient female was found dead in back of a large market and the police wrote it up as an accident.  When John (no longer a cop) read of it, he decided, to look into it.  Any lay person that knew the facts would know it was not an accident, as there was a plastic bag covering her head/face and a cross had been placed in her privates among other clues. Seems a coffee shop in the shopping center only knew her by her first name as she would be given coffee there.   So John set out to find out who her family was so they could have closure. It took a lot of time and frustration, but he found them in another state (I forget where).  It was our reward that they were notified.  Cost to anyone - NOTHING.  Another At a Boy for my husband.

Thanks from the Secret Service

July 10, 2010

Being a fingerprint expert and photography were two of John C von Colln’s favorite and most prized skills.

He had the opportunity to combine both and garner the appreciation of the Secret service at the same time in a counterfeiting of US currency case. See this link for crime scene photos, latent and rolled prints and a letter from the Secret Service to Sheriff Frank Bland indicating appreciation for Detective John C von Colln for his services.
The suspect’s name has been removed from these documents.

Fun at the Yacht Club

July 9, 2010

I posted 4 pictures of John at various Yacht Club parties.  The first is probably taken at the grand opening party in about 1983.  Then there is one of the many Halloween parties.  Third is the picture of "Best Buddies Forever".  You can see how happy they all were!!  The last one is of "Best Friends Forever"--the closest friends on C-Dock.  We all went to Cabo San Lucas for a 10 day fishing trip in 1985.   We caught fish, ate wonderful food, met some great people, and swapped fish stories.  At one dinner, John kept asking for more Flan.  The waiter was getting a big kick out of it.  He must have eaten at least 10 flans. 

     The ocean can be very unforgiving.  When our 4 boats cruised together, you knew that someone always had your back.  If the engine acted up, there were 3 other guys there with help, parts, and know how.  No matter what the problem, someone was on it--even if you just needed some ice cubes.  We helped each other set anchors, untangled line, fended off boats getting too close in anchorage, etc.  

    I cherish the memories of the 8 of us cruising together--Avalon, Santa Cruz Island, Marina Del Rey- and on and on.  We went so many places together.  I even cherish the memories of standing watch all night in winds gusting to 90!!!  Hoping the anchor will hold.

    Here are the 8 BFF's--Jerry & Cathy Gaylord, Rocky & Sue Rockholt, Ron & Shirley Hilblom and Sandy & John von Colln.


Murdered Brothers affected him deeply

July 9, 2010

Two deaths of "brother" peace officers affected him deeply.  One was actually his cousin Sgt. Frank R. von Colln (pictured here, Aug 29, 1970, Fairmount Park Police Department, Pennsylvania) and the other was his Lt. Al Stewart (March 9, 1973) when JCvC was a deputy at "West End" San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dept., Calif.

John C von Colln was promoted to Sergeant to fill a vacancy left by one of his Sergeants (Tom Wickum) who filled the tragic vacancy left by Lt. Stewart.
A description of Sgt. Frank R. von Colln murder is here:
A description of Lt. Al Stewart 's murder is here:
News articles carefully kept by John C von Colln about Lt. Al Stewart's murder are here:


A Quote by John C. von Colln about his cousin:

"I notice that the national police memorial does not have a photo of Frank either.

I really feel that the Guard should still exhist, it was the elite of the elite in Law Enforcement. I was back to Phila. two days after Frank was killed and Frank Rizzo, assigned a team of two a Lt. and Det. to me to assist me to know what happened that dark day in Our families lives. I had held on to the events for all the years until the last suspect was caught in Chicago suburb. I had nightmares of being in the station house when he was shot, and could not stop happened.

When Frank got out of the Navy, he and I were several years apart but we hung out together in Cape May, NJ. We did a lot of fishing. Frank was out of sorts at times not knowing what he intended to do for a career. His father wanted him to come to construction business, others in family gave him points of employment he did not like. I told him I was going to be in police work when I finished school and Army. Frank took that as a good Idea and so it went, how he ended up on the park guards. I joined the Cape May Police Dept, did not like the small town politics and quit when Chief gave me a ration of Crap. I was three years & 3000 miles being able to get back into law enforcement. Enough about me, I have always harbored a little guilt about Frank going into park guards and what if he went into anything but law enforcement would he be with us today. He was a great guy, family man, as I have heard Cop.

I am going to sign off now, it is 3:26 AM and it is about time to go to bed.
Good luck with photos and the memorial for the Guards.
John C. von Colln"

Another Quote here:

Caring for a 4 year old flood victim

July 7, 2010

John C von Colln (and all area emergency persons) was on duty in January 1969 during an extremely bad flood.  He ended up taking a 4 year old girl home to his wife Sandra, said something like take care of her and ran back out the door.  Sandra commented it took a lot of work to get all the sand out of her hair.  Her life was saved by a passing teenager.  She stayed with us until her grandmother got out of the hospital.

Articles are located here:

Search and Rescue - NJ to San Bernardino County

July 7, 2010

Those who knew John C von Colln from the West End San Bernardino County Search and Rescue Team may not know it didn't start there.  He, his mother and father were instrumental in starting and managing the volunteer rescue squad in his home town of Cape May NJ.





See Cape May and SBSO S&R pics and articles here:


Unknown Soldier Europe

July 6, 2010

Dad (John Charles von Colln) was on the escort detail for the European candidate for the WWII Unknown Soldier while in France as an MP in the US Army. 

Our family took a month long trip back east in the summer of 1974.  While there, we went to see the Unknown Soldier and all the pagentry involved.  I had no idea uintil recent years the significance of this visit to my father.

Images of some things (strip map, articles..) we found (in the garage, but well kept) are here:


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