An FBI expert on criminal behavioral believes that an animal rights activist accused of planting bombs in Emeryville and Pleasanton in 2003 is likely living overseas but it is “inevitable” he will be caught.
The suspect, Daniel Andreas San Diego, 35, formerly of San Rafael, has been in hiding for a decade and sightings of him have come from as far away as France and Spain, FBI special agent Ronald Tunkel said.
“He’s been on the lam for quite a while now and the world is getting smaller,” said Tunkel, a criminal behavior analyst for the FBI, during phone interview with reporters Monday from the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
“It’s harder to be anonymous and hide in this world,” Tunkel said.
Tunkel said that the tools the FBI and other investigators have of finding people are more sophisticated than when San Diego disappeared in 2003 and combined with the suspect’s stress in living on the lam for the past 10 years, “it’s inevitable he will be caught.”
San Diego, who was born in Berkeley and grew up in Marin County, is suspected of planting two timed bombs that exploded one hour apart on Aug. 28, 2003 at the Chiron Corp, a biotechnology firm in Emeryville, according to the FBI.
The second bomb may have been intended to injure first responders to the initial explosion, but no one was injured, San Francisco-based FBI media representative Peter Lee said.
San Diego is also suspected of making a bomb, with a timer and nails strapped to it, that blew up on Sept. 26, 2003, at the Skaklee Corp., a nutritional products company in Pleasanton, but did not injure anyone, the FBI said.
The suspect was last seen in the Bay Area in October 2003, according to Lee.
He was indicted on felony charges in the bombings in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in July 2004 and the FBI is offering a reward of $250,000 for his capture, the FBI said.
The motive in both bombings appears tied to his association with animal rights extremist groups that targeted the two companies claiming they conducted cruel experiments on animals, according to FBI officials.
San Diego’s adoption of activism against companies that used animals in experiments that may have stemmed from his disgust while witnessing the killing and cleaning of a turkey when he was a teenager in San Rafael, Tunkel said.
San Diego was so much against any form of cruelty to animals that he “adopted a vegan lifestyle” and once refused to eat marshmallows because he said they contained animal products, according to Tunkel.
“He’s a fascinating character,” Tunkel said. “He’s a true believer.”
A concussion he suffered as a boy also may have influenced his behavior to consider performing violent acts, according to Tunkel.
San Diego also may have a personality of someone who did not “do as well in life as they could have or should have” and so was driven to associate with extremists and do the something that mattered to him, Tunkel said.
The suspect had talked to others about his love for animals, Tunkel said.
His ability to maintain himself as a fugitive for 10 years comes from his savvy use of technology to prevent a cyber trail on the Internet, such as using cash instead of credit cards, and his skill for living cheaply, Tunkel said.
It is unlikely that San Diego is living in the United States, Tunkel said.
“I’d be surprised if he’s here,” the agent said.
Tunkel, who is working on the San Diego case with FBI agents in the bureau’s office in Oakland, said he has met with members of San Diego’s family who said he had a good upbringing.
“He had friends, he was liked,” he said.
The FBI wants to “reach out to him” and convince him to help himself and his family by giving himself up, Tunkel said.