Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Larry C. Ford

The Outliers

While investigators unearthed much information about Ford and his unusual contacts, it was difficult for investigators to put together the entire puzzle because a great deal of information is still missing. However, as the Ford story developed over time, a more frightening picture of the doctor emerges.

An alleged mistress and lab assistant of Fords told the New York Times in early November 2002 that she had seen Ford carrying a vial on the airplane to South Africa. She stated that the vial was later handed over to a South African official. She claimed that the vial Ford carried contained deadly bacteria that could have endangered everyone on the plane. Basson admitted to the Times that Ford had carried biological samples to South Africa, yet claimed they were not lethal and had no military significance. In 1986, two F.B.I informants attended a meeting in South Africa at which Knobel and Ford were present. The informants overheard a conversation indicating that Knobel had received toxic agents from Ford and another doctor named Nilsson.

Dr. Jerry Nilsson, a friend, fellow Mormon and former colleague of Fords, often accompanied him to South Africa. Ford and Nilsson had at one time shared an office together at UCLA and had co-authored several gynecological papers. Nilsson had been involved in many projects, some controversial, that had included Ford. In the late 1980s, Nilsson attempted to organize with Ford and other doctors the creation of an infectious disease center in Los Angeles. The center was to have related facilities in Africa, Germany and other countries. However, the project fell through due to a lack of funding. Nilsson had been involved in other projects involving gold mining and hospital management, according to Investigators received information that Ford had buried anthrax in a gold mine. Nine months following Fords death on November 3, 2002, the New York Times reported that police found the doctors business card and directions for making chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax, in a gold mine in Nevada. It was unclear if the gold mine was related to the one Nilsson had been involved with. During the Ford investigation, Nilsson was named as one of the key suspects in the case, the L.A. Times claimed in July 2000.

Dino DSaachs, the strongest link between the doctor and Rileys shooting, continued to deny that he drove the gunman to the shooting. Police found other evidence linking DSaachs to Riley, following the discovery of the van. According to the Irvine World News, a manual about gun silencers and photos of Rileys parking area marked with an X was found at his home. Investigators also linked DSaachs to Nilsson as well as Ford, when it was discovered that the three men had been frequently seen at the Beverly Hills home of their mutual friend Gideon Bouwer. More than one year following the crime, DSaachs was put on trial for conspiracy to commit murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison, still refusing to identify Rileys shooter.

Gideon Bouwer frequently held parties at his Beverly Hills home. On July 17, 2000, the L.A. Times wrote that two FBI informants and acquaintances of Bouwer and Ford Peter Fitzpatrick and Tom Byron told investigators that Bouwer would often brag that Nilsson and Ford were supplying a high-ranking South African official with lethal bacteria to be used in warfare. The two informants also said that Bouwer would invite businessmen to his home in order to obtain military intelligence. On several occasions, the FBI had monitored Bouwers home, but was unable to find enough evidence to charge him.

The Ford investigation yielded many intriguing connections, most of which included links to South Africas biological and chemical warfare program. However, the investigation failed to solve two of the most crucial mysteries of the Ford-Riley case the identity and motive of the gunman responsible for shooting Riley and the extent of Fords alleged connection with Basson and Project Coast. They are mysteries that Ford may have taken to his grave.



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