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Calif. man leads cops to wife's body

By Michelle Locke
The Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — A body was removed from a remote area of the Oakland hills after a prominent computer programmer about to be sentenced for killing his missing wife led investigators to the site, authorities said Tuesday.

Hans Reiser's attorney said the body is believed to be that of his estranged wife, Nina Reiser. Alameda County authorities removed a body from the scene overnight and were set to begin examining it, investigator Damon Wilson of the Alameda County sheriff's office said early Tuesday.

Reiser, 44, was due in court Wednesday to face sentencing after being found guilty of murder in April. His wife vanished in 2006 as the two were in the midst of a bitter custody battle.

Reiser, known in programming circles for his ReiserFS file system, had always asserted his innocence. He led authorities to the site Monday.

Police would not speculate on the identity of the body or disclose details of the search. Alameda County prosecutors and Oakland police said they planned to hold a news conference Tuesday.

"This is a difficult scene to process. It's in a very rugged area," sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson said late Monday.

Defense attorney Richard Tamor said Reiser did not have difficulty locating the spot: "He went right to it." Reiser was handcuffed to another of his attorneys as he led police to the site, Tamor said.

Tamor declined to comment on speculation that the defense hoped to negotiate a reduced sentence in return for revealing the location. Reiser now faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

The ravine where the body was recovered was less than a mile from the house where Hans Reiser lived with his mother.

The house is also where Nina Reiser, 31, was last seen alive on Sept. 3, 2006, when she dropped off the couple's two children for a visit with their father.

Reiser testified for several days in the six-month trial and was scolded by the judge for arguing with the prosecutor. His attorneys had argued that there was no direct evidence linking their client to Nina Reiser's disappearance and suggested the woman might be living in Europe.

Prosecutors contended the circumstantial evidence against Reiser was strong: The two were involved in a custody dispute, traces of her blood were found in his home and car, and witnesses testified she would never have left her children.

In the weeks after Nina Reiser's disappearance, police with cadaver dogs searched the hills where the body was found.

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