La Jolla Millionaire’s Death Investigated


What seemed to be a death under natural circumstances has turned into a homicide investigation after a friend tried to steal millions from the victim's estate.

John Watson, a 65-year old retired biotech executive and member of a startup investment group, was found dead inside his apartment on Camino del Oro in La Jolla around 6:20 p.m. on June 8 after colleagues reported that he had missed an appointment. 

“We were contacted by the medical examiners office and they had some concerns on whether there was some foul play involved,” said San Diego Police Lt. Kevin Rooney.

Homicide detectives are waiting for autopsy results.

An investigation was launched after a friend of Watson, 59-year old Kent Keigwin, allegedly tried to steal $7.5 million from Watson's estate. 

Keigwin is being held in county jail on $2.5 million bail and faces felony charges of identity theft, grand theft of personal property, burglary and forgery of documents, said Lt. Rooney.

He's accused of opening an account, in Watson's name and transferring money from the victim’s bank account into the new account.

Watson was an executive with Johnson & Johnson. He became involved in Tech Coast Angels in 2008 after stepping down as chief executive of Ionian Technologies, a local biotechnology company. He was a board member in the group, which provides money for startup companies, said Steve Flaim, president of the investment group.

Flaim said, “We are absolutely shocked by this.  This sort of thing is unheard of.  He had made plenty of money, saved it.  Now he was going to enjoy it.  He enjoyed it for two years and now he's gone, it's very sad.”

Keigwin’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week.

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