A dozen years after La Cañada residents Harold “Skip” Tillman and his wife, Joni, were found buried in remote graves, investigators say they have new developments regarding the murders, but are staying tight-lipped about any details.
“There are some things that we’re working on, but it’s not anything I can divulge right now,” said Det. Ryan Ford of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Cold Case Homicide Division. “It’s definitely a case that we have open and we’re actively seeking out additional leads and information.”
Skip Tillman, an accountant, and Joni, a homemaker, were last seen dining at J.J. Steakhouse in Pasadena on Feb. 6, 2000. A witness reported seeing their vehicle later that night as it entered the driveway of their rented Bramblewood Road home. Three days later, the Tilllmans were found strangled and buried in a remote wash in Yucaipa.
The couple, who had once lived in Glendale, were embroiled in “a few contentious lawsuits” at the time of their deaths, according to an article published in the Glendale News-Press shortly after the bodies were found. These included an accusation from clothing designer David Hayes that Skip Tillman had embezzled $1.7 million and forged Hayes’ signature on at least 30 checks. Hayes’ office manager Jane Drake also sued Skip Tillman over a $100,000 promissory note. In another lawsuit, Joni Tillman’s half-brother, Craig Elliott, was battling her for a share of their late father’s estate.