Parents Begin Search For Tunnels

On April 21, 1990, several weeks before the opening arguments in the second trial began, some of the McMartin parents gained access to the preschool property and dug a hole 15 feet deep underneath the northeast section of the school building in another attempt to confirm their children's reports of underground caverns.69 The parents then decided to seek the "objective" help of "professionals" to further investigate the site.70 The next day Ted Gunderson, the boyfriend of McMartin parent Jackie McGauley and a former F.B.I. agent in charge of the Bureau's Los Angeles office, arrived on the property, crawled into the hole, and collected various artifacts.71 From that point on Gunderson acted as the "Project Coordinator" for an excavation project that would last until May 29, 1990. Jerry Hobbs, a professional gold miner, and geologist Don Michael were also hired in the earliest days of the project. Dr. E. Gary Stickel, a consulting archaeologist, was hired on May 7, the day the new McMartin trial started, to preside over all future excavations.

By late May numerous news stories, based on interviews with Stickel, Gunderson, and Hobbs, had appeared in the local news media suggesting that the alleged tunnels may have been discovered. The Los Angeles Times wrote:

Digging beneath the building's 24-year-old foundation [former McMartin parents] have also located at least one crudely built tunnel they suspect was used to transport children to the yard of an adjacent apartment building.72

The South Bay newspaper, The Daily Breeze wrote:

. . . a "subterranean opening" at the now defunct McMartin Preschool may be an entryway to a tunnel system presumably used to lead children to locations where they allegedly were molested, a private investigator said Friday.73

On June 4, 1990, Gunderson appeared on the Cable News Network program Larry King Live with Marilyn and Robert Salas and their son to talk about the alleged tunnels. The day after, the Los Angeles Times reported on a media campaign by the tunnel cadre to convince the public that the legendary McMartin tunnels had been found and that DA Reiner was ignoring their discovery. A DA's investigator, who had visited the excavation site on the day the school was finally demolished by bulldozers, concluded that there was no proof of tunnels and that the underground cavities "could be anything."74 But Stickel told the Times that he and his assistants had discovered two hand dug underground passageways, one of which was 45 feet long and went under two classrooms at the north end of the school. The Times reported that the tunnels were about 4 feet high and from 2 to 9 feet wide. Thousands of artifacts had also been found, according to Gunderson, who said that he would not turn the evidence over to DA's investigators because, "I don't trust them. And besides, I don't think they wanted to find tunnels, so who knows what they might do with our evidence."75

As reporters and other spectators filled the hallway outside the courtroom to hear the final verdicts on July 27, 1990, Gunderson passed out copies of a one-page preliminary report (written by Stickel) summarizing the alleged findings of the excavation under the McMartin preschool. The summary repeated earlier claims reported in the press along with a list of other discovered evidence that supposedly supported the children's tunnel claims.76 Some of those claims were later repeated, while others were contradicted, in the final, 185-page report written by archaeologist E. Gary Stickel.77

The Dark Truth About the "Dark Tunnels of McMartin"

bulletThe Beginning
bulletThe Accusation
bulletThe Letter
bulletChildren's Institute International
bulletHysteria Spreads
bulletNews Media Coverage and National Hysteria
bulletFollowing the Money
bulletDr. Roland C. Summit
bulletSatanic Trappings and the Search for The Secret Rooms and Tunnels
bulletIncredibly Weak Evidence
bulletSummit Defends MacFarlane's Interviews of the McMartin Children, Without Reviewing the Interviews
bulletJudy Johnson's Increasingly Bizarre Behavior
bulletThe Trial Verdicts
bulletParents Begin Search For Tunnels
bulletRevisionist History: Judy Johnson and The Dark Tunnels of McMartin
bulletThe Third McMartin Trial
bulletEthics, Professors, Indiana Jones, Switzerland, and Early (Very Early) Man
bulletTunnel Precursors
bulletBob Currie
bulletOrigin of a Secret Room
bulletFrom Santa Claus To Lions
bulletMultiple Molestations: Devils, a Dead Baby, and a Ghost
bulletTunnel Therapy
bulletThe District Attorney's Excavation
bulletAnalysis of the Report on the 186 (minus one page) Manhattan Tunnel Project (MTP) by E. Gary Stickel
bulletMTP Archeological Methodology Employed by E. Gary Stickel
bulletSite Contamination By Manhatten Tunnel Project
bulletPhotographic Documentation of the MTP Archeological Procedures
bulletStickel's Conclusions About the Evidence He Claims to Have Obtained from the Archeological MTP Project
bulletThe Missing Tunnel
bulletEstimating Dates of "Tunnel" Artifacts

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