A potential break came this week when authorities were able to finally identify the victim through both DNA and fingerprint analyses. Craig Kenneth Kubitz, 49, was found dead Feb. 23, after a vegetation blaze brought firefighters to his location.
“This death will be investigated as a homicide,” Lt. Chris Catren said in a release. “We don’t know a lot about him at this point and we want to know more.”
Redlands police, who have struggled to retrace Kubitz’s steps in the days before he died face additional obstacles in their investigation.
Kubitz, who police say was not close to any family in the immediate area, was not reported missing.
“The lack of a missing person’s report is unusual in homicide cases, as friends of family will be the first people to realize a victim has disappeared,” Catren said.
Kubitz, who was from the Bloomington/Fontana area, was last seen on Feb. 18, according to reports. At the time, he was driving a red 1992 Volkswagen Jetta (license plates, 4GCP525).
One week later, on Feb. 25, the vehicle was located abandoned on the northbound side of Highway 18, near the mountain community of Crestline. It was approximately 40 miles from where Kubitz’s body was discovered.
At the scene, police discovered what they considered an unusual belt buckle, a photo of which was released in the hopes of identifying the charred victim through the public. It was, according to Baker, believed to be the figure of a Zuni Indian Rainbow Man.
Kubitz, who had a $60,000 warrant out for his arrest, had failed to appear in court on a charge of possession of a controlled substance issued by Fontana police a little over a month before his body was discovered.
Redlands firefighters originally discovered the body after tending to a vegetation fire just off the Wabash Avenue exit along Interstate 10. When the body was first examined, investigators were only able to tell he was Native American and noted some distinctive dental work.
Baker said Redlands police were concentrating on areas along the I-10, east of Redlands, due mainly to the body being discovered on the westbound side.
That “included the desert communities in California and neighboring states,” said Baker. The Fontana/Bloomington areas are west of the site.