The corner of 15th Street and San Bruno where a 48-year-old woman was found dead Monday morning is an industrial part of the city where the people who live there do so on the street or in parked, run-down motorhomes. On the west side of the intersection are businesses and a café. On the east side is a parking lot and an abandoned lot. Interstate 101 swings up and over both.
It was at the edge of this abandoned lot where police found the 48-year-old woman’s body on Monday morning. Employees who work across the street at the auction house Bonhams are so accustomed to seeing transients that when they walked by the victim’s body, they thought she was sleeping, said one employee who asked that his name not be used.
On Tuesday morning Rebecca Martinez took a break from pushing her belongings in two shopping carts. She knew the dead woman as Mary, but said she had not seen her for at least three months. Police have identified the victim as Mary Freeman. They have also arrested 30-year-old Maron Tesfamariam who has been booked into county jail and is awaiting charges of homicide.
Martinez sat on the curb and lit up a half-smoked cigarette. Mary, she said, liked to mix her drugs. Methadone, crank, or something else but always alcohol. She said she thinks Mary died of an overdose. “I warned her,” Martinez said under the loud overpass.
Adrian Bobbs, who was trying to power up portable speakers with a car battery nearby, said he found out about the death from another homeless woman named Kelly. He said Kelly, who usually carries a jug of vodka, was saying some crazy stuff about how she felt responsible for Mary’s death because she put the idea in the guy’s head, talking bad about Mary and he took it to the extreme. He gave some idea of where to find Kelly, but she was not in any of the locations.
Martinez referred to Tesfamariam as Morocco, but declined to give any details about him.