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clock Sep 14, 2006 8:07 am US/Pacific

Oakland Police Search Home Of Missing Woman's Ex

(CBS 5 / AP / BCN) OAKLAND Police in Oakland continued to search for clues in early Thursday morning at the home of an Oakland Hills man for clues in the disappearance of his estranged wife.

Nina "Nenashga" Reiser, 31, was last seen on Sept. 3 dropping off her children with their father, Hans Reiser, 43. Her abandoned car was found in North Oakland Sept. 9, and authorities this week issued a bulletin describing the mother of two as "at risk" and a possible victim of foul play.

The search of Hans Reiser's home began Wednesday. The people who live in the Oakland Hills neighborhood where the search was carried out say it was around 7:30 a.m. when several police cars and even more officers showed up, guns drawn, to the house.

Hans Reiser, a software developer, has not been termed a suspect in his estranged wife's disappearance, and police have yet to speak to him, authorities said. He was not at home when police served the search warrant, said Oakland police Lt. Kevin Wiley.

The couple's 6-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter were placed with Child Protective Services. Although Oakland police used a cadaver dog to search underneath Hans Reiser's home, the case is being handled by the missing person's unit and not homicide investigators, said Oakland Police Cpt. Jeff Loman.

"We don't have any evidence of foul play," Loman said.

The couple married in 1999 and separated in 2004. Nina Reiser filed for divorce that year and was granted a temporary restraining order against her husband in 2004, although neither action was finalized. She took him back to court earlier this year for allegedly not keeping up with child support and a trial was scheduled for October.

"I would like to think -- and I hope -- that he had nothing to do with this," said Shelley Gordon, Nina's Reiser's divorce attorney. "This has been a very acrimonious divorce, and I'm very fond of Nina and quite heartsick over her disappearance."

Reiser's boyfriend, Anthony Zografos, said that on the day she disappeared the missing woman planned to go grocery shopping and to visit a friend, but never showed up at the friend's house.

Nina Reiser emigrated to the U.S. from Russia about six years ago and was studying to earn her medical license so she could practice obstetrics and gynecology.

An agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participated in the search, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

Oakland police say Nina Reiser was last seen driving her tan 2001 Honda Odyssey with the license plate number 4UBB491.

According to filings in Alameda County Superior Court, a notice of settlement was filed on Hans Reiser's behalf today to resolve a lawsuit filed against him by Sean Sturgeon on Dec. 30, 2004, seeking $131,552 in damages.

The terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

Sturgeon claimed that Reiser and his company, Namesys, Inc., which he ran out of his home, failed to pay back a loan.

In a response to the lawsuit that was filed on Feb. 15, 2005, Reiser, acting as his own attorney, said "under no theory of liability is defendant Reiser liable personally for repayment."

Reiser alleged that Sturgeon "had been having a secret affair with defendant's wife, Nina Reiser, at the time of the loan."

Reiser said Sturgeon "continues this illicit affair even during divorce proceedings currently in action" and that Sturgeon "even apparently is, in defiance of a court order, residing with defendant's wife and children."

Reiser also alleged, "It is well known and was well known to plaintiff (Sturgeon) that the majority of the allegedly loaned funds were spent exclusively by Nina Reiser."

Reiser said the fact that Sturgeon didn't name Nina Reiser as a defendant and named him as an individual "is clear evidence of his malicious intent to destroy defendant's marriage and leave the defendant to clean up the wreckage and pay the debts."

In a cross-complaint that Reiser filed against Sturgeon on Sept. 8, 2005, Reiser said Sturgeon acted as his financial agent from 1999 through 2002 and had access to and control over deposits, withdrawals and funds at the Patelco Credit Union.

Reiser said Sturgeon "worked with my wife Nina Reiser and eventually drugged her with ecstasy and seduced her."

Reiser alleged, "He then engaged in Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism techniques and continued to redrug her repeatedly over time."

He said Sturgeon engaged in those techniques "in an effort to show that he was a better man than I and to convince my wife Nina to conspire with him to steal the Namesys Inc. company assets."

Reiser alleged that, "Sean has threatened to have me beaten up by some of his associates in illegal activities and that he would hurt me, my mother or my children if he did not get what he wanted."

He also accused Sturgeon of engaging in extortion by threatening to make calls to the Internal Revenue Service to report him and his mother.

In addition, Reiser alleged that Sturgeon wrote into a contract that Reiser must participate in "Death Yoga," which he said has the purpose of "slowing down one's heart to the point of death."

Sturgeon's attorney, Richard Meier, didn't return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment on the case.

Reiser's attorney, Gregory Silva, declined to comment.

In a Sept. 13, 2005, interview with the Web site KernelTrap.org, Reiser said he dropped out of junior high school after eighth grade but was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley at the age of 15.

In the interview, Reiser said, "Berkeley was a lot better than junior high school, but it still involved homework, which deep down in my heart I could never believe in."

According to a Dec. 29, 1999, article in InfoWorld, Reiser's company is called the Naming System Venture but is more commonly known by the abbreviation Namesys.

The company aims at creating a quicker and easier way to search file databases on Linux-based systems, according to the article.

(CBS / AP / BCN)

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