Arrest announced in death of Foothill girl 27 years ago Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm
An unnamed suspect has been arrested in the homicide of a 14-year-old girl that occurred 27 years ago. Tina Faelz's body was discovered in a drainage ditch on April 5, 1984. A 43-year-old man with "an extensive criminal history" was taken into custody Sunday in Santa Cruz, said Pleasanton police Chief David Spiller.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 8, 2011, 11:21 AM
Posted by Joe Buckovic, a resident of another community, on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm
As a retired police officer from Pleasanton, I worked on one of the many reviews of this case. I am very happy to see the case brought to this stage. I always believed the case could be solved, it just needed a simple break,
Congratulations to the many police department personnel for their continued professional and determined diligence in following through with this most difficult case.
Posted by Lisa , a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm
I was a freshman at Amador when this happened and can still clearly recall the fear that hovered over Pleasanton for a long while. As a young kid, the same age as Tina; it was so surreal that someone would intentionally hurt her. And why? For What? Tina did not deserve what happened to her.
Thank you PPD for keeping up on this case. Thank you for bringing closure to Tina's family. As a mother of two now, I can finally understand the level sorrow and loss Tina's family felt back then and over the last 27 years.
Praying justice will be served and praying for the Falez family as well. May they finally have some peace and know that 27 years later, their daughter has not be forgotten. The community remembers, we mourned together in 1984 and we rejoyce in the case being solved today.
Posted by report it, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm
Seems like several people are pretty tuned in to this, creepy/ptowngirl: If you know something about Carlson, I suggest contacting the police. Even though an arrest can be made, if you have information regarding the case, it may be helpful to investigators. I'm sure detectives would like to speak with you, or anyone else with information regarding this case.
Posted by ptown girl, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Aug 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm
google the info is easy. I have lived here for 40 + years , how could I not know. Happy to help in any way. I have a child going to school in Pleasanton and feel bad for Tina's family. Justice will be served and I'm very proud of Pleasanton PD and all the work they do to keep us safe !!!
Posted by Get the facts:, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm
30 minutes into their 4:00 newscast, and ABC 7 has not reported on this yet. But they have gotten to the weather twice, and the Hollywood news. Well done, ABC, thanks for dealing with the real news in the Bay Area.
Posted by A long way from Pleasanton, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm
I lived in Valley Trails and even rode the bus with Tina a few times. Like Tina did that day, I walked home the way the aritcle described most days before and (sadly) after her murder. The bus was fairly expensive to ride for some families, but luckily for me, I almost always walked home with my best friend. I do remember a lot of talk later about how picked on Tina was, but I never witnessed anything. I know from personel experience that Pleasanton during those years was full of cruel bullies. Just look on page 176 of the 1984 FHS year book. There's a photo of 3 girls; one is waving to a car and the caption says, "Bye mom, I'll be OK." That girl in the photo is Tina Faelz and to this day that goes down as *the* cruelist "joke" I've ever heard of, led by a snotty group of girls on the yearbook staff. I don't believe for a second that was an accident. Though I adored my dear friends, you couldn't pay me to repeat my high school years, they were so heartbreaking. I didn't know the murder suspect, but heard him called Creepy Carlson. A lot of kids suspected he was the killer, but we were kids and I personally thought they got the guy (some drug dealer from Hayward who was also suspected in the murder of another young girl but he was murdered in jail shortly after his arrest, I recall). I figured the information died with him though now it seems that all along it was her 14 year old classmate who continued to go to school with us. And to think this sociopath passed a lie detector test. I'm glad an arrest has been made will pray hard for a conviction. It's time for peace to be given to Tina's family and to the boys who found her. Well, maybe for all of us. Rest in peace, Tina.
Posted by Barney Fife, a resident of the Avignon neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm
The finally got Creepy Carlson for the murder of Tiny, it's about time. The students that knew Steve as well as the PPD knew he did it all along. The PPD dropped the ball and let him go...If the Oakland PD initially investigated the crime scene and integrated Carlson, he would've been locked up with 48 hours. RIP Tiny
Posted by Get the facts:, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm
Back in the 80's, deadlines for yearbook material was really early, like in January or February. April 5th was well after that deadline, so I would guess that "A long way from Pleasanton" 's speculation that the yearbook girls purposely put in that caption are false, it was probably a cruel irony instead of a cruel joke. (I did not go to Foothill, but I was a yearbook photographer at another high school in the 80's, and our deadlines were ridiculously early. We begged and struggled to get pictures of Spring sports in our yearbook.)
Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 7:40 am
I didn't live in Pleasanton in 1984 to remember this tragedy, but I just wanted to add some balance to the comments being posted. A photo of a 43-year old man is being shown as if that is the person that committed this crime. The suspect was a 14-year old boy and we have to wonder what was going on in his home life at the time. Very sad for both families and I don't think the mother of a murdered child ever has closure.
Posted by A long way from Pleasanton, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 8:53 am
I do agree with Get the Facts that yearbook deadlines were very early. I also worked on school yearbooks in the 80s. I just know there was time to get a memorial page for Tina placed in the same yearbook and everyone knew right away that was a photo of her by the car, so we were all just shocked that no one would have caught it. There were other mean jokes in that yearbook. I wasn't the only one who thought this. Doesn't mean it's right and I admit I may be completely misreading this. But I don't believe I am.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:03 am
To: A long way from Pleasanton,
My older sister was in that same class at Foothill. I remember this day very clear. I was very worried every day until my sister got home for a long time. I know she walked home because of bullies on the bus as well. I also remember that she cried when she saw that picture in the year book and said how she could not believe that staff would not have caught that as every student did. I also knew Steve from some friends older brothers and I remember people talking then about how they thought he did this. So glad it is over and I hope that the bullies and the Steve have had lots of trouble sleeping at night! I now have kids at Foothill myself and the bullies are still there. It is a clear case of the haves and have nots. You do not want to be a have not at Foothill.
Posted by Donna, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:55 am
I was in Tina's class at Foothill and am happy to see that justice might finally be served in this case. It was well known around school, at the time, that Steve was likely her killer. I wish DNA testing would have been available back then.
May her family know that she has not been forgotten over the years and finally get some closure.
Posted by Susie, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 10:02 am
One way for the bullying to stop is for our culture to change the attitude towards "tattletaling". Even though kids tell the truth to a person in authority, they are ridiculed. All of us should encourage our kids to do what they can to stop an injustice, and show zero tolerance towards those that belittle others for any reason.
Posted by reasonable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:05 am
By the way, my understanding is that Carlson was living in Santa Cruz, not Pleasanton.
Why was he called "creepy" anyway? and why did the kids all think he was the murderer at the time? It sounds like there were some red flags around this kid; he may have been mentally ill or otherwise disturbed and apparently many people knew it and did nothing to intervene in his (obviously troubled) life.
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:35 am
I knew him in the mid to late 80's. He wasn't really part of any crowd, rather he would forcably attach himself to the plans of different crowds and participate uninvited and unwanted. He was agressive, loud, and rigidly opinionated, which made him extremely abrasive. All of this magnified if he was successful at sponging alcohol off of the crowd. His nature was a very animated one and his movements and expressions frightened people.
My question is that of the chicken and the egg.
He was ostricized, ctiticized, treated as unwelcome wherever he went, had no real friends, spent a tremendous amount of time by himself, endured the valley-wide moniker of "Creepy Carlson" which his unusual appearance seemed to support, and basically woke up to a world of hate everyday. I personally participated in all of those actions toward him at one time or another, and also sat under bridges downtown drinking beer with him. That ladies and gentlemen, is called two-faced. We punished this guy to the highest level.
Did we build this? Had we wrapped around that kid, took him in and offered him the friendship and caring that we were freely showing each other in front of him, would his defenses have not been so brutal, and his personality so distasteful? Did we feel that it would reflect better on us to heap scorn on him for all to see, than to just let him be one of the crowd?
Could we have saved this girl by treating a troubled kid like a human?
I'm wrestling with a lot of emotional activity today.
Posted by Jon, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:53 am
You are one of the first people to look at themselves and ask was it us/me? I think everyone else wants to believe that they had no part in this when infact they did. Wrestle your demons and know that atleast today you took ownership of your actions. Very big of you!
With that said, you were a kid and parents and teachers should have been more awake and delt with all the issues. This can't lie on the shoulders of all the kids that treated him like that. Lots of people get teased and treated poorly yet they do not kill!
Posted by Amy, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Your raw honesty is refreshing. People who continue the hate only perpetuate rather than prevent further occurrence of horrible crimes. People are not born to be monsters. They are created bit by bit over time. If he is the killer, he should pay for his awful actions, but how tragic it all is.
I also believe this will bring closure for no one. In the process of removing this threat from our communities so many people are reliving or experiencing this pain. I just hope that at some level it inspires us to do as creekrat has done and try to grow from this.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm
Hey 1984 CreekRat:
Don't beat yourself up about it. Everyone, all of us where kids at the time. You have to remember this was before PSA's talking about bullying, drinking and no one was talking or knew about ADHD, ADD and things of that sort.
It's easy now to look back and say why this kid was pretty messed up. But lots of kids had problems then. Honestly, where are all the parents and teachers during this time??? I remember lots of kids getting away with all types of stuff. Never seemed like anyone ever really got into trouble. I also remember what a joke the Foothill teachers and some staff there had been.
There was no doubt Carlosn had some mental issues that needed to be addressed. It seems like most of us during that time grew up a little too fast, had lots of freedom to roam around and do what we wanted, and very little supervision.
I still remember the problems in downtown with young teenages drag racing, drinking, peeing on the buildings, etc. The Mayor at the time took the parents in school buses at night and showed them what was going on. With that and a new Police Chief, things changed quick. Sad that "bullying" and the things that caused that have affected us like this. That being said, I still hope Carlson gets swift justice and rots in hell.
RIP to Tina and I hope some PEACE can come to her Mother.
Posted by Lou, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm
Jon, they don't all become killers. They also become indigent, exacerbate mental illness, abuse their own children or co workers, take their own lives...... Many victims of chronic bullying never ever recover. However, bullies are often themselves victims. The ones who have the real power for positive change ARE the adults who see and do nothing; who can empower those who are insecure and immature (I.e.teens in general) to be positive examples; who can protect the obvious victims while helping the less obvious (the bullies themselves)
Thank you all for your comments. This is not the usual mudslinging. This is a productive discussion. I hope people will use it.
Posted by Livermore Resident, a resident of another community, on Aug 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm
I remember this crime very well. Up until that time I never feared going anywhere in the valley. I have not heard anyone say what the killer's family was like. They apparently had some means to live in the neighborhood they lived in and just moved out a few years ago. Did the parents have issues? They must have heard the rumors about their son being the killer. Anyone remember?
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Thank you for the kind comments folks.
When bullying is mentioned, many people draw up the image of a group of kids around another kid, taunting and jeering them.
This guy would be purposely told where everyone was going to party, just so the people who told him could watch him get his ass kicked when he showed up.
He would be begging a truckload of us to go to a party with us, someone would tell him "Ok, jump in", then when the truck took off we would throw him out of the truck at 30mph on Valley.
We would let him come ice blocking at Castlewood with us, then wait for him to have to use the restroom and leave him up there.
It was FASHIONABLE to hurt him.
This wasn't bullying. This was the systematic dismantaling of the soul of another human being. I know we were kids, and I view all of this with the correct frame of mind, but my heart hurts over this, and I'm sickened by the 'group nature' of his persecution. I am not alone in these feelings today.
Posted by reasonable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm
These posts are heartbreaking. Kids did act like this when I was growing up as well. It is very hard for a kid to go against the group and accept someone viewed as an outcast, so while the retrospective is sobering, it is not any one individual's fault. More importantly, didn't some of the adults (Carlson's parents, teachers, school counselors, other kids' parents, even bystanders??) see this happening? Obviously the kid had no social skills. If he was ostracized from a young age he never developed any, or possibly he had Aspergers or something similar. It is amazing that no one saw that there were major problems here. They guy ended up semi-homeless in Santa Cruz. Of course he deserves to pay for the crime but it seems to me he has been paying for this, at some level, his whole life -- as have his victim(s).
Posted by Response to 1984 Creekrat, a resident of another community, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm
Your story is very sad and troublesome. Did anyone in your group of "friends" lack for anything? Having been raised in Pleasanton gave you an advantage over 99% of other children anywhere else. Was there not one person in your circle that had any compassion or was strong enough to raise above the "pack" mentality?
You can't do anything about the past behavior but I only hope you turned into a human being as an adult and have used your experience to teach others a better way.
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm
Glenn, no one I know is going to step up for you man. Steve is going to be charged according to 1984 law, and though he may be tried in adult court, I believe he can only be sentenced as a minor. We don't want him on our doorstep in 5 years, you feel me?
Posted by Peter & Karen Milliken, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm
As a resident of Valley Trails at the time of this tragedy we are happy to hear that there has been a suspect named in this senseless killing. We no longer live in California but we do keep up with what is going on in our community.
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm
Response, I'd prefer not to go into the psychology of my group of friends at that time, only to say that few of us were from the wealthy, well-adjusted, morally-balanced superstars that grace our velley today. We played amongst the construction material around town and had no money whatsoever. Perhaps you would find us 'lacking in social graces'. We met in creeks and downtown. We didn't socialize with eachother's families. We were where parent's weren't.
I turned into a balanced human being. I appreciate both dirt and gold, and don't mistake one for the other.
Posted by newresident, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm
Fyi...a couple years ago, I inquired at Foothill to see if they would be interested to offer a Bullying Prevention Program.
By far the most effective program offered is called "Olweus" Bullying Prevention Program (pronounced Ol-VAY-Us). Though it was developed in Norway (and adopted for all Norway public schools), this program is now offered in the US and is based out of Clemson University.
(I am not affiliated with this program. I am only a parent of a formerly bullied child from PUSD and I want to fight bullying everywhere. I have since yanked my child out of PUSD and we are much happier because of our decision.)
Posted by Hopeful, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm
To New Resident: Thank you for the link to Olweus. Wow, they sure have built a fabulous resource. And this was really what FHS was like back in the 80's. A good perspective too on what it was like for our teachers (see below). I remember a student picking up a desk/chair and throwing it at a teacher in about 1985 ... and he wasn't expelled! How can teachers stand up for the kids when they are being harrassed too? They seemed as helpless as we were. There is so much room for improvement. This gives me some hope we can break the cycle. Thank you for sharing!
"Schools with Bullying Issues - When bullying continues and a school does not take action, the entire school climate can be affected in the following ways:
•The school develops an environment of fear and disrespect
•Students have difficulty learning
•Students feel insecure
•Students dislike school
•Students perceive that teachers and staff have little control and don't care about them"
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Aug 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm
What do you mean by putting a "human face" on the story Glenn? Please explain in detail.
The killer has a human face. Sometimes a story can be written in such a manner that the killer is made the victim. In some instances, it turns out that the brutally murdered victim caused the killer to behave badly?
A teen was murdered by another teen. I have no sympathy for the killer. The killer already has a face, just check the photo online: he has hair, eyes, ears, a mouth, nose, teeth, a neck with tattoo's, and he breathes. His DNA has been identified.
Posted by heartbroken parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm
My son was bullied at PMS, and because of a good hearted teacher, we found out, and put a stop to it. Bullies can create monsters. I prayed that Foothill would be different and I thank God it was. Glad things have changed, at least for some but I can't get over how heartless some kids are, even at a young age. Being young is no excuse. Right is right and choosing to be heartless is a choice, unfortunately, innocent souls pay the price in the beginning but I truly feel what goes around comes around too. No one wins.
I prayed my son's heart would not become hardened. I'm one of the lucky ones, because of a teacher's involvement, and as a parent I stood up for my son. I went to the school in person making demands. The golden boys that bullied, got off easy, but did not get away with it unscathed.
To Tina's family, I pray you find peace in your souls.
To Kids and their families that are bullied, I pray for strength to turn it around before it's too late.
To Bullies I pray you find faith, knowing that one day, you will have to pay the price for all of your misdeeds before it's too late. It's never too late to stop being heartless.
Posted by Mary, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Aug 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm
I'm not excusing this crime, but I wish it were as simple as people getting to choose to be evil or good. Or to one day wake up and find they have a heart and feel agony for crimes committed. Unfortunately a lot of people have serious mental illness and while there may be a light inside them somewhere that shines while they're children, many grow into sociopaths or pedophiles and no matter how much people try to help them, their illness runs too deep and virtually nothing can help. They simply don't comprehend the difference between good & bad. They feel zero empathy. They blame their victims for their behavior. To believe they have a choice is oversimplifying a very serious problem in our society. The reason it's so important to get to these kids while they are young is that usually their mental illness is not as extreme and can be medicated/helped. I'm not a psychiatrist, but have had the unfortunate experience of being stalked by a very sick individual who was terrifying because he's incapable of remorse. He can't begin to understand what he was doing wrong, even though he's highly intelligent. As it turns out he was severely bullied as a child then turned into a horrible bully himself and that combined with a personality disorder (which runs in his family apparently) have equaled a person who is a real threat to you and me. I don't know if he would be such a threat if he hadn't been bullied, but I'd like to think that if he'd been shown kindness, he may not have turned all his hatred onto society. Perhaps he would have been able to lead a somewhat normal life, like those of us who were bullied but didn't have mental illness to send us spiraling down. I've had to come to terms with changing my life since it's clear this stalker will NEVER improve. When children are diagnosed -- or are identified as bullies who need extra supervision -- there is hope. When they are not, they turn into repeat offenders like Steve Carlson, who cause pain, loss and a burden to our over-taxed penal system. We're all better off if we find it in our hearts to feel sympathy -- not for the 43 year old criminal -- but for the boy who needed help before he committed this horrible crime, didn't get it and quite possibly turned to violence as a result. This guy needs to pay for his crime, no doubt. And the rest of us who have been touched by this sad story need to ask ourselves what we can do to help kids stay off this path of destruction. For all our sakes.
Posted by To Glenn, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm
If you are looking for a story, how about a prevention-type of article? Why don't you interview the Pleasanton police officers, the sargeant and see what their take is on sex offenders? You will be surprised at what you hear. Ask them why it is okay for sex offenders to hang out with kids, ask them why they don't do anything about it, ask them why they think it's okay for a child to go to a sex offender's house as long as they are careful, ask them why they think the rights of sex offenders are more important, ask them why they dismiss people's concerns saying: don't worry, it's just a stigma, a label, poor them (the sex offenders)
Posted by Matt, a resident of Dublin, on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:09 am
I went to school with both Carlson and Tina in 7th and 8th grade at Wells in Dublin. Steve Carlson was absolutely rude, crude, filthy, and generally made life unbearable for anyone sitting near him in class. Girls were his favorite target for his disgusting dialogs, gestures, and harassment. He smoked weed all the time in 7th and 8th grade, and always stunk like it. He chewed tobacco in class every single day and spit it on the classroom carpeting. He often came up quietly behind a girl engrossed in her schoolwork, and put his hands all over her breasts and butt while the teacher was not looking. He was an absolute scumbag, and most everyone despised him for his actions. Tina was shy , kinda quiet, kept pretty much to herself, and really only had one true friend she hung with, who was very respected in the school as far as I was concerned. I don't recall her ever being bullied or ridiculed by anyone, the 2 years I knew her. Everyone knew Carlson killed her, as they were going out for a minute. The day she was killed, They were arguing loudly at school, and everyone heard it. Rest in Peace Tina, God Bless you. May Steve Carlson rot in Jail until he eventually dies, and then burn in hell for all eternity. Thank the FBI, and not our local police farce for solving this case finally. Job well done guys.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:47 am
Question to anyone who knew Steve Carlson: What was his family like? Any siblings? What about his parents? Were they doing their best to deal with an out-of-control teenager, or do you think that their parenting contributed to the problem? Just curious about how much of this is "nature" versus "nurture".
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:55 am
I would reiterate that I met Steve right before the summer of 1985, and did not contribute to his life experience in any way prior to that time. Any discomfort I feel stems from being a gear in the city-wide social machine that continued to pile an unbearable amount of negativity on him. I am no better than the people who worked him over before me. The ones who hardened him and tortured the compassion out of him. But he had a tough, self-reliant, hardened nature about him when I met him which I thought was admirable, but we were damn well going to test it, and test we did. I never put any thought to how he got that way.
I have a few points I'd like to make that have occupied much of my thought over the past 48hrs. The first is that, by all accounts, Steve has been in and out of jail for the past 20 years. Had he been caught and convicted of this crime he would have been released in 1995. 16 years ago. Which is worse?
The second is that it should not be missed that both the killer and the killed were suffering the exact same thing. They were both targets of other kids.
The third is just to concur with Matt's comment that this is not a "W" for the Pleasanton Police Department. While they sit there claiming to be potty trained, the FBI just changed their daiper in front of this community, and we are thankful to them for that. "Little Joe Buck" as we used to call him has provided endless amusement with his post stroking his old dept. You just keep thinking that little buddy.
Posted by MARY, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:59 am
What amazes me is that at the time of this terrible tragedy, so many of the kids at Foothill highschool thought it was Steve Carlson, including my two boys, who attended Foothill H.S. at the time. Why in God's name did it take the Pleasanton Police Department 27 years to arrest this guy??? Was he ever brought in for questioning? In my heart I believe that the Police Department did not do their job and other poor children suffered on account of it. Who knows, he may have also committed other murders since then. How could so many people have known that Steve Carlson did it and the Pleasanton Police Department turn a blind eye??? How hard did they actually work on this case?
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:46 am
HA!! No, I'm certainly not that. I am in no way defending him, and will not post in a public forum what I would do to him right now if no one but God was watching. I'm just coming to terms with some very harsh things, and as always happens in hindsight, seeing a lot of things I should have caught.
As has been mentioned, Steve was always a suspect. I entertained the idea for about half a second, but decided that this whackjob had such a fragile psychology, I just didn't believe he was the type that could keep it in and keep his mind together. He was so hungry for acceptance that I felt that he would have slipped when he was drunk and used what he had done to 'one up' somebody. In short: I didn't think he could keep his mouth shut. I was painfully wrong.
I woke up at 3:15am this morning wondering if he has any memory of killing her, or if he has been running from a black hole in his memory for 27 years.
I would also like to correct my previous posting to say that, my smack at the Pleasanton PD was in reference to their taking credit for the 'cracking of the case', which was actually solely the FBI's cold caser's running tests. I would not take away the 27 years of work they put into the case. They did a very thorough investigation at the scene, and followd up every lead. That is all you can expect. In that respect, I commend them.
Posted by Fellow classmate, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 11:35 am
As a fellow classmate of both the victim and the suspect, I know for a fact both were bullied. It seems he just 'snapped.' I sat near him in one of my classes and it was never a pleasant experience. I thought he was just a nasty, crude person. I never talked back to him and basically steered clear of him. I would always avoid having to cross paths with him alone. I had no idea the level of bullying he was sustaining. I just read his dad's interview. Doesn't seem like he really knew what was going on with him. I knew Tina from living in the same neighborhood and riding the bus. I knew there were some older girls that didn't like her. They were considered the "tough burn-out chics" that had reputations of being able to "kick some ass." They didn't like her because when they'd tease her or call her names she would talk back to them and actually stick up for herself. That wasn't "allowed" by them. I give her credit for not taking their crap! I was the same age and in the same grade as her and was too scared of them to have ever done that. I believe there should be some sort of accountability by them. From what I've heard, it was because of them that she quit riding the bus and started taking the shortcut under the freeway, which I didn't even know existed until a few days prior. I had to stay after school one day and didn't know how I'd get home. Someone mentioned "take the tunnel" and told me it was behind the school. I really didn't know how to get there so I never went that way.
The culture was different back then, kids didn't tell their parents that kind of stuff. They handled it themselves. Parents didn't get involved like they do now.
I hope and pray that justice is served in this case.
Posted by From "To Glenn", a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm
I don't know why people are congratulating the Pleasanton police, according to an article on contracostatimes.com, this guy had been in trouble with the law. Why didn't anybody bother to follow up given that they had DNA evidence> Read about it:
And for that person who asked: every time a person I know has contacted the Pleasanton police with concerns about sex offenders who live in Pleasanton, they are dismissed, being told that the offenders in ptown are "harmless" and that it is just a "stigma." The police does not seem to care about how sex offenders may be having regular contact with kids. That is what I am talking about.
Posted by trails kid, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm
Creek Rat raises some good points...I too participated in harassing Carlson...It was much more politically correct to participate...there was at times a mob mentality ...we did not have gangs but there were locality cliques as usual..lest we forget we were all kids then...I feel some guilt for his treatment also...the most striking incident I recall was locking Carlson in the big white dumpster by autoshop for a feww classes duration...the custodian finally got him out...what a horrible experience...that same night he showed up in the park and squatted with us without a word about it...
Posted by from the Peninsula, a resident of another community, on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm
1984 Creekrat, you are probably beating yourself up over this more than the killer did.
In middle school and high school, I was BFF with a girl who was ostracized and "bullied" by the rest of the girls in our class. By my association with her, I was also ostracized although I was respected. 20 years later, I finally realized that my former BFF was the bully and that was why she was ostracized. A severe personality disorder runs in her family and her behavior towards others was really twisted and manipulative. For 20 years, I thought that the others were wrong to ostracize, but now I realize it was the right and only thing to do. She was a nasty harmful person. Nothing including trying to befriend her helped. Ostracism was the only way for others to protect themselves. I unfortunately befriended her and essentially sacrificed my life for a sick twisted soul and am still dealing with the fallout. In our case, anything that looked to a passerby like bullying her was really others' self-defense. This is why when I see news about bullying cases where some ostracized kid kills people or commits suicide, I see the other possible side, while the natural reaction is to think that the "bullies" are responsible for driving this "victim" to desperation. My former BFF was sometimes suicidal, and I know that this was a maladaptive tendency that was created long before any ostracism or perceived bullying occurred in middle and high school. Some kids have serious psychological problems and it's not other middle school or high school classmates' responsibility nor capability to fix them.
In the Pleasanton school case, it does sound like there was more severe bullying of him. But several posters above described him as an awful nasty person in middle school with behaviors way outside of normal, years before. Also, it's not normal to continually seek those who bully you.
If you used to bully other kids and have now grown into a well-balanced adult, then the best thing you can do is raise your own kids not to bully others. A generation later and it still sounds like Pleasanton schools have severe bullying problems. I am curious why. I never heard about bullying this severe when I was in school.
Posted by His love heals, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm
Let's leave all the psycho analysis to those with a degree and proper training. For the rest of us, the best way to heal our community is to look at our own actions. The best way to honor Tina and her family is for us to be kinder neighbors, and actually be more loving to our kids.
We live in a community where people are hurting; teaching compassion to our kids (no, you don't *need* brand new everything for clothes this year, there is a family we know that is having a hard time, let's take their kid shopping). That's how you make kids kinder...by teaching them to be kinder. Focusing on others is how you feel better about yourself. Maybe we could help our teens learn that hurting another or themselves lives within us forever, just as Steven, Tina's family and 1984 Creek Rat have all demonstrated. Wisdom is acting on what you know is true. Peace to Pleasanton and the Faelz family.
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm
No Peninsula, I'm just going through what everyone in our community is going through; what went wrong here, and is there some way we could have prevented this from happening? I hadn't thought of Tina's murder for many years, until the Dugard story broke and brought it back up in the media. I spent a lot of time on the street, downtown and in creeks at all hours, and was very frightened by what happened to her. I'm ready for a conclusive end to this. I'm ready for 12 people who's opinions are based on hard facts to tell me what happened to Tina Faelz.
Posted by question, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:58 am
Did Carlson ever do anything on school grounds during school hours that was against school policy? Was he often in trouble with school officials? Should he have been expelled for any reason? Were there others who bullied him on school grounds during school hours who should have been severely disciplined but weren't?
I am trying to understand Foothill's response to all this bullying during the time. Or was it either not known by school officials, or rather known but not considered a big issue.
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 10:55 am
You know Question, everyone keeps using the term 'bullying' like it's this institution with an omnipresent public perception. The difference in the make up of our society today is drastically different than in 1984. I was taught that if someone bullied me with a fist, I bullied them back with a pipe. I was taught comprehensive self-defense, and never to instigate a physical confrontation with anyone, but if one was brought on me, to make sure my retaliation left them unable to continue instigating. That philosophy has had a zero failure rate. Thank you Dad.
This whole thing about teachers, parents, community leaders, etc.. needing to get involved is totally foreign to me. "Bullying' is a part of life to a small degree, and is a mechanism of young society in shaping each other and preparing them for a world which, God knows, is going to bully them.
I suspect this might not go over well here, but is it possible that the bullying hasn't gotten worse at all, but we have raised a bunch of pansy-ass children? If someone bullies you, go to the teacher or a parent? Are you kidding me? That pretty much sets up all of your future beatings. The way to stop a bully is to become their bully.
In no way do I attach these sentiments to this specific situation, I'm just waxing philosophical. As I mentioned previously, I am of the opinion that in the case of Steve this was an organized, community-wide ostricision of grand purportions, and is not by any stretch of the imagination, what would be considered simple bullying. Steve didn't have a face to blame for his treatment, he had a town.
Posted by Ask Kevin Johnson, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Aug 11, 2011 at 11:24 am
Didn't Kevin Johnson go to Foothill at that time? He was the Principle of Foothill for most of the last decade and is now Superintendent of pupil services in PUSD. Kevin would have been a student at the time, probably knew all parties involved, knows the climate of Foothill then and now and his current job makes him responsible for behavior issues in PUSD. I would be very interested in his perspective and knowledge about this case.
Posted by Get the facts:, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 11:30 am
I'm not sure the exact timeline, but I believe Johnson is about 50 years old, and would have been gone by '84. I don't know where he went to high school, but he taught at AVHS before becoming a principal.
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm
I think the real wizard would be the person who could shift the motivations for bullying to more productive uses. We should bully the people we love when they're going off the rails, not people we simply don't like and really don't know or have any investment in.
If 5 guys have a friend who is slipping into a questionable crowd, or starting to get high or not treat his girlfriend right, those 5 guys should corner him, take his weed, smack him up for his behavior, and tell him that they are going to do that to him every damn day until he gets back on his path, because they care what happens to him.
If 5 girls have a friend who is slipping into a questionable crowd, boosting clothes, dating someone with a violent nature or involved in questionable activity, up'ing pills and downing grades, those 5 girls should corner her, take her pills, smack her up for her behavior, and tell her that they are going to do that to her every damn day until she gets back on her path, because they care what happens to her.
We bully kids off the track, but not back on. I never understood that.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm
Your anti-bullying strategy worked very well for me as a student, and I passed the technique along to my own kids, who used it quite effectively.
The corporate environment is a bit more complicated because physical confrontation gets you fired whether the bully deserved a pop in the nose or not. Adult bullies are often much more evil than childhood bullies because they've had time to develop cover and concealment strategies that mask their actions and intentions, and they operate very comfortably in management structures that are forced to avoid liability by denying knowledge of the bully's existence and actually working to undermine the victim's credibility.
The Norwegians have done research in this area, and their conclusions are downright depressing.
Posted by from the Peninsula, a resident of another community, on Aug 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm
What I learned from school is if we fought back harder, we would get in trouble while the bully would even get support from the teachers, sort of like the corporate bullying described by Mike. Yes, this prevents the original bully from being stopped. However, I wonder if the bullies shouldn't have been thrown off the bus or out of the classroom if it's happening right in front the teachers or bus driver.
Question, if what Matt posted above is true, then Carlson was basically regularly groping female classmates in the classroom among other things.
Posted by Matt, a resident of Dublin, on Aug 12, 2011 at 1:18 am
This is Matt once more. What I posted about steve carlson is 100 percent the truth. Its hard to put into words, the depths of his depravity towards the girls in class. There's always like 2 or 3 girls in most classes that are drop-dead gorgeous future movie stars, and playboy bunnies and stuff, and he would not leave them alone for more than 5 minutes at a time, EVER! I watched, no make that studied him for 2 years straight trying to understand the forces inside him that could make him actually CHOOSE to behave so offensivly towards pretty much everyone.(Give or take 2 or 3 tried and true male friends that were completely 'beholden' to him, no matter what) I'm 41 now and in all my years since then (27 Years!!) have never ONCE encountered such an ego in any sociopath, criminal, or Dublin cop. I never met Charles Ng & Leonard Lake, but they also enjoyed tormenting, humiliating and killing girls, just like Steve. Justice sure is slow, though.
Posted by nobody, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:52 am
WOW sounds to me like Steven has already been tried & convicted in a Court of "Pleasanton" Opinion and he hasn't even had one full day in Court yet. Sad that he never even had a Chance. He was abused by his Father, I remember him saying back around the '83-'85 time. R.I.P Tina Faelz We will Remember You.. Gone but Not forgotten. The (True) Truth I can only hope will come out about Who did this to You & your Family.
Posted by The neighbor, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2011 at 3:26 am
Steve was my neighbor. Yes he was tormented by his dad. Abused molested u name it. As well as his sister tanya. There was another child in the home to. At home his life was a living hell. Sorry but he was tortured through out his life. N being one igirl he did have as a friend all I
can say is the tattoo of void on his
neck says it all. No one ever shared a moment of kindness with steven, except me. I knew what happened in his home. We were kids we suffered similar experiences. Kids are cruel but nothing like his father.
Posted by Neighbor, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2011 at 3:47 am
I wanted to add, several lives were lost here. Some before they ever got started. No excuses just tragedy and heart ache for all concerned. Not every abused child kills but all of them die a little at a time. Look at the bullies look at the parents, look at the teachers and their peers. Open your eyes dont turn away. We are losing our children to the hatred and drugs. Take a chance on a child not your own. some one took a chance on me it changed my life. My prayers go out to all.
Posted by Mitch , a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Aug 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm
Sure is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking and excuse making going on here, as well as the other article. Lots of kids get bullied/abused but a miniscule % grow up to be killers. This is about Tina and her family getting justice, finally, after all these years. Any talk about poor old creepy Carlson should be saved for his sentencing when/if he is found guilty.
If you feel guilty for being a bully, stop making this about you and teach your kids
Posted by 1984 Creekrat, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Well, actually, no. This is an article about someone being arrested in Tina's murder. To some it will be about Tina, to some it will be about a cold case arrest, to some it will be about the accused. Feel free to discuss it from any aspect you like.
Mitch & agreed, you are so right. I have just destroyed this thread with my participation. By all means, let's hear what you have to say. I was unaware that all of my spam was keeping your wisdom off the page. Please continue...
Posted by Mitch, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Aug 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm
Once again, it isn't about you.
My main objection is Pleasanton Weekly running an article with quotes from anonymous people like "1984 Creekrat" and the subsequent whining and crying about how he was abused/picked on, etc. as a means of trying to explain and understand what happened. Right now, the guy is in juvenile court, and I am sure some people would like to keep it there. Your input is interesting, but it is irrelevant to justice, and isn't that what this is all about, after all this time? Charge him as an adult, give him a fair trial, and if he is guilty, lock him up and throw away the key.
Who knows how many other people he abused/killed in the 27 years he has been free, since this crime, assuming the evidence means he did it. I am unconcerned with why he did it, but if he did it, he should be punished for eternity, starting with the rest of the time he has on earth.
Posted by Bonnie, a resident of another community, on Apr 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm
wow what a bunch of hateful people. Steven is a very gentle person. he has always been different. never creepy. sounds to me like he was bullied for being different. shame on all of you people with your nasty comments. i have known steven for many years and he is a dear friend of mine. more like a brother to me. he is not capable of crime like this. also all you people calling him a child molester you really need to investigate before you start shouting names. it was nothing like that. i will pray for you all.