Crime

Lompoc police shed light on murder case - "She was just being a caring neighbor"

EXCLUSIVE She was just being a caring...

LOMPOC, Calif. - Lompoc Police say 74-year-old Eldri Jauch was killed in a violent attack and she didn’t have a chance to defend herself. 

The gruesome details emerged the same day her suspected killer made her first court appearance

Shortly after she could be seen sobbing in court at her arraignment, our own Kacey Drescher sat down with detectives in an exclusive interview.

Investigators are still serving search warrants, nearly a week after Jauch was last seen alive. 

Police say Eldri Jauch and Melissa Martin had hung out before and had a friendly relationship.

While officers are keeping a potential motive close to the vest, we finally know more about what allegedly happened to Jauch.

Lompoc police say a disturbing Facebook Live was recorded after Melissa Martin beat her 74-year-old neighbor to death with a baseball bat.

“It’s just an ugly attack. I can’t explain it, I’ve been losing sleep over it,” said Sgt. Agustin Arias, Lompoc Police Department. 

Sgt. Arias says detectives have been working nonstop since Saturday night to close the case.

That’s when a crucial tip lead authorities to the west side of town and the missing 74-year-old’s body inside Martin’s apartment.

“This woman didn’t do anything to provoke this attack. She was just being a caring neighbor, goes and knocks on her door, is invited in and then this occurred to her,” said Sgt. Arias. 

Arias says Jauch made it home from the Lompoc City Council Meeting on June 4. She was last seen receiving a proclamation from Mayor Janelle Osborn with a group she supported. In the early morning hours on Wednesday, she went next door to check on Martin because loud music was playing.

“From what I could tell from the investigation and seeing it all, she didn’t even know it was going to happen to her, she literally has no defense wounds and she was surprised,” said Sgt. Arias. 

Arias believes that drugs or alcohol played a role in Martin’s actions.

We know she came into contact with Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies just hours after the horrific crime.

Officials confirm that Martin was arrested the morning of June 5 for possession of a stolen vehicle and driving under the influence of drugs in Santa Ynez.

So that means Martin created a Facebook fundraiser after she allegedly killed her neighbor. 

Arias says after 20 years in law enforcement, this is one of the worst homicides he’s ever had to investigate.

“As far as the type of scene and the type of attack this was... it’s pretty bad,” said Sgt. Arias, after a long pause. 

Now, police say the most important part is closure and honoring Jauch. They are hopeful that justice will be served. 

“She had no need to go to the council meetings or be a part of groups and try and help people but she did it because that was her calling and her niceness and her caring for her neighbor caused her to be in a situation like this. It’s terrible,” said Sgt. Arias. 

Since detectives are establishing a timeline, working backward from Saturday, Arias says if anyone has any information about Martin’s actions leading up to the incident, they should give them a call at 805-736-2341.

“You never know what piece of the puzzle somebody else might have,” said Sgt. Arias. 

Martin is due back in court again on July 2. 


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