Missing San Luis Obispo couple with ties to Modesto, Ceres found dead with their dog near crash scene, police say
By LAURA HAEFELI
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MODESTO, Calif. (KOVR) — A former local high school football coach and his girlfriend, who both worked at a Modesto winery, were killed by a vehicle while walking their dog in San Luis Obispo, police say.
A coroner identified the couple as San Luis Obispo residents Matthew Chachere, 39, and Jennifer Besser, 36.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department said on November 21, a 24-year-old man crashed into a bridge on Sacramento Drive. Officers arrived at the scene and released the driver with no suspicion of DUI or foul play.
Then the investigation took a dark turn.
Less than 24 hours later, headquarters received a call from a dead dog near the crime scene. That same evening, a missing persons report was received from two San Luis Obispo residents who did not arrive at their expected location in Modesto for the holidays.
Family members turned over photos of the couple and their dog to police. A dispatcher made the connection: the dead dog belonged to the missing residents. Officers returned to the crash site and found the two bodies hidden under the brush.
San Luis Obispo Police said Chachere, Besser and their dog were hit by the driver and pronounced dead.
“Just completely devastated to hear that this happened to them,” said Timmy Garcia, athletic director and head football coach at Grace Davis High School in Modesto.
Chachere was an embedded member of his community. He coached football at Ceres High School before joining Grace Davis High in 2021 as the defense coordinator for an undefeated season. There he trained with his friend Garcia.
“We were looking forward to getting together during the holidays [and] reminiscing and talking about life,” Garcia said.
Chachere and Besser worked for E&J Gallo Winery at the time of their deaths but have always remained beloved members of the Grace Davis community, which is now devastated by the loss.
“The children we contacted expressed their condolences and were completely shocked. Everyone’s just really, really sad,” Garcia said.
The driver involved in the deaths is being questioned by police but is not in custody at the time of this story. Police also said speed was a factor in the accident.
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