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Lompoc woman charged with murder in missing neighbor's death

Lompoc woman charged with murder in missing neighbor's death

Eldri Jauch

Jauch

A 35-year-old Lompoc woman arrested Monday in connection to the death of her 74-year-old missing neighbor has been charged with murder, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors allege Melissa Martin killed Eldri Jauch with a deadly weapon — identified as a baseball bat — on June 5. Jauch was last seen the morning of June 4, according to the Lompoc Police Department, and reported missing on June 6.

Martin did not enter a plea during her Wednesday afternoon appearance in Lompoc Superior Court, opting to continue the arraignment until July. She is being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail, on a $2 million bail.

Lompoc Police located Jauch's body at Martin's home on Sunday, following a tip from a witness. Officers tracked Martin to a home in the area of Santa Ynez and arrested her on suspicion of murder.

Reach reporter Mathew Burciaga at 805-739-2205 or mburciaga@leecentralcoastnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @mathewburciaga

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Reporter

Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.

Related to this story

The 74-year-old Lompoc woman killed earlier this month is being remembered by friends as a "free spirit" with a spark for life, and a community activist with a passion for progressive causes. Eldri Jauch was an avid outdoorswoman known to frequent Santa Barbara County's open spaces and play the violin at the weekly farmers market. When not walking Surf Beach or hiking around the area, she spoke out against abuse, advocated on behalf of Lompoc's LGBT population and participated in interfaith initiatives in an attempt to make her community a better, more inclusive place.

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