SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Thirty years after Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead was arrested in Golden Gate Park, the mystery continues. The story involves music, drugs, and a briefcase, allegedly seized by the San Francisco police.
It was January 18, 1985 when police found Garcia in Golden Gate Park asleep in his car, beside a suitcase packed with drugs and a stack of unused lyrics.
“The stories that I heard were that they were unrecorded and unreleased material,” said Nicholas Meriwether of the Grateful Dead Archive at UC Santa Cruz.
Meriwether has heard the story before, a stash of unrecorded music that vanished in the air.
“The fact that Garcia was carrying them around in a briefcase certainly indicates that they were probably very much on his mind. And that he was, if not actually working on them, certainly thinking about them,” Meriwether said.
It’s a mystery police are still asked about, 30 years after the arrest.
“We phoned downstairs to the property clerk this morning, and spoke to the sergeant at property control. We have not been able to locate any property belonging to Mr. Jerry Garcia,” said Sgt. Michael Andraychak of the San Francisco Police Department.
Now here’s the real bad news: The evidence and property room is inventoried and cleaned out every 15 months. Anything that’s not part of an active criminal case is either donated or sent into the trash, according to Andraychak.
So we’re left to wonder what musical treasure was stashed in that briefcase. “Working notes, completed drafts, who knows? But it’s incredibly exciting to think that they might actually turn up,” Meriwether said.
The story has resurfaced, after it was mentioned recently by Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Surviving members of the Garcia family said they are still hopeful that the briefcase, and the music, will be found.