More Questions Than Answers Engulf Nestande Death

Questions Swirl Around Nestande Death

Brian Nestande

PALM DESERT — More than three months after former Assemblymember Brian Nestande was found dead in his Palm Desert home from multiple substance intoxication, fentanyl and cocaine, according to the official autopsy report, myriad questions remain unanswered.

Chief among the questions is: Who really found Nestande on March 6? Other questions include where did the 60-year-old man get illegal narcotics? Why was his place so “clean”? Why no cocaine residue?

In the days, weeks and months since Nestande’s death, several people have told Uken Report that Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez was the one who actually found Nestande. The two had become close and were said to have been working on at least one or more projects together.

Perez’s name is nowhere to be found in the coroner’s report. The responsibility of identifying the body fell to Perez’s Chief of Staff and Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez. That raises another question, if Perez and Nestande were so close, why didn’t Hernandez call Perez to the scene? Or did he? Or did they go together to check on his well-being?

On May 30, Uken Report sent an email to Perez’s PIO asking, “Did the supervisor go with Steven Hernandez the day he went to Brian Nestande’s house? Did he stay until authorities arrived?”

Perez did not respond. Either he went or he did not. Why not answer? Why the shroud of secrecy?

I asked Hernandez if the Supervisor was there and I was told to ask the Supervisor.

Uken Report has reached out to more than a half dozen trusted and respected Valley leaders, all of whom said they “heard” that Perez was there, but each said it was secondhand knowledge. None had heard it directly from the supervisor — with exception of one.

Fred Bell, Chief Operating Officer at Nobell Energy Solutions and vice chair of the Palm Springs Air Museum Board of Directors, told Uken Report that he attended Nestande’s funeral. Bell said he was among a group of mourners Perez was visiting with when he said he was at Nestande’s home the day the body was discovered.

“Manny definitely saw (Nestande) at the house when he was dead,” Bell said. “The whole thing really shook him. He was really shaken. He was just a mess. He was just devastated.”

Bell said he knew Nestande “fairly” well, though they were not close due to some business and political differences.

“I never had the impression he was a drug user,” Bell said.

Sheriff Chad Bianco would only say that Nestande’s death remains “an active investigation to determine the source of the fentanyl.”


Image Sources

  • 2024-Brian-Nestande-Younger-v2-800×568 (1): Courtesy photo
  • Question Marks: Shutterstock