A month after Foster's killing a police officer stopped two men in a van in Concord, a suburb of San Francisco, a little after midnight. Sgt. David Duge said the van was being driven in such a way as to arouse suspicions. The driver gave the police officer a phony license that identified him as Robert James Scalise of Oakland. Asked where he was going, the driver gave a local address of Sutherland Court, and the name of the person he was going to visit as DeVoto. Sgt. Duge went back to his car and checked on a DeVoto, and found none listed. Then one or both of the men opened fire on Duge and the police officer returned the fire. The van pulled off, but crashed only a few yards up the road. The driver, "Scalise," later identified as Russell Jack Little, 24, was slightly wounded; he was arrested at the scene. The other man escaped on foot, but four hours later, Joseph Michael Remiro, 27, was arrested nearby, reportedly hiding under a car. In the van was found 2000 SLA leaflets. Both men were armed, Remiro with a .380 Walther semi-automatic pistol, the same type of pistol used to pump six cyanide bullets into Foster. A police ballistics report said it was the gun that killed Foster.
But it was only the next day, when fire officials called police to Sutherland Court for an arson, in a house rented by George and Nancy DeVoto the previous October, did the case begin to spring open. And only then did the police realize that they had muffed it. The address Little had blurted out to Sgt. Duge was indeed where he lived as George DeVoto. And it was a staging and planning area where several SLA members were comfortably resting for several hours after the arrest of Little and Remiro. Found in the home were cartons that indicated a number of combat weapons and ammunition cases, an abandoned bomb factory, notes seemingly indicating surveillance of area businessmen, an unsent SLA communique with a death warrant for state prison officials and their wives and a lot of radical literature.
Although police were able to obtain a photograph of "Nancy DeVoto" — it was Randolph Hearst's San FranciscoExaminer, the flagship of the Hearst chain that he edits, that identified "Nancy DeVoto" as Nancy Ling Perry.
An arson warrant was issued for Nancy Ling Perry and police began to seek William Lawton Wolfe, Little's roommate, who was suspected of being the man seen accompanying Nancy Perry as they got into a car and drove away from the Concord house just before the fire was noticed. On Jan. 17, the local media received a "Letter to the People from Fahiza (former name Nancy Ling Perry)" in which she said that the police had captured two members of an SLA Information and Intelligence Unit. Remiro's gun was not the weapon used to kill Foster, she said, warning: "We can easily verify that the ballistics on the .380 now in the hands of the pig agents do not match those of the weapon used in the attack on the Oakland Board of Education."
To her "two companeros" she wrote: "You have not been forgotten and you will be defended because there has been no setback and all combat forces are intact."