Santa Maria - North County

Friend of Orcutt murder victim speaks out

Elyse Marie Erwin was found dead on Easter Sunday

Friend of Orcutt murder victim speaks...

ORCUTT, Calif. - A close friend of Elyse Marie Erwin, spoke exclusively with KCOY 12 Central Coast News about her friend who was murdered in Orcutt on Easter Sunday.

Linda Pina and Elyse Marie Erwin met each other close to three years ago at work and became "instant friends."

She described Erwin as a great person, motherly - with an "infectious laugh."

"Just a great person and very motherly and there for her friends all the time so she was a great person inside and out," close friend Linda Pina said. 

26-year-old Jorge Tovar Fernandez was in court Wednesday for further arraignment. He's accused of murdering his daughter's mother, Erwin, on Easter Sunday.

"I was very heartbroken, it's very tragic," Pina said.

Erwin was shot in the head and killed early Easter Sunday after visiting a friend in the 100 block of Goodwin Road, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. Her body was later discovered on the ground next to her car by a resident.

"We all miss Elyse and loved her very much and we still do love her and I know the family is going through a hard time right now," Pina said.  

During the investigation, Sheriff's detectives determined Tovar, the father of Erwin's 6-year-old daughter, was a person of interest in the case.

Authorities located Tovar at his Lompoc home and detained him for questioning, the Sheriff's office said. He was arrested on April 19 when he showed up to a child custody hearing at the Santa Maria courthouse.

Tovar was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of murder and is being held without bail.

The couple's 6-year-old daughter is now in the care of family members.

In April, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced that Tovar was facing several criminal charges related to murder.

"It is further alleged that the defendant intentionally killed Ms. Erwin while lying in wait, within the meaning of Penal Code section 190.2(a)(15), and that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm within the meaning of Penal Code sections 12022.53(d), and 12022.5(a)(1)," said the District Attorneys office in a statement.

Today's arraignment has been continued for June 21st.

"His reaction is he obviously doesn't care, he was smirking in his mugshot and he was smiling walking through the courtroom, I feel as though he's not taking this serious," Pina said.   

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