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Lompoc murder suspect makes first court appearance

The Lompoc woman accused of killing her 74-year-old neighbor made her first court appearance Wednesday.

The judge agreed with a defense request to deny cameras in the courtroom for Melissa Leigh Martin’s arraignment.

The 35-year-old is charged with murder for the death of Eldri Terese Jauch.

Police say Jauch’s body was found in Martin’s apartment a few days after Jauch’s sister reported her missing.

Martin was arrested outside a home in Santa Ynez on Monday afternoon.

Melissa Leigh Martin

 

Investigators have not revealed Jauch’s cause of death or a motive for the crime, but the complaint against Martin alleges that she used a baseball bat in the commission of the murder.

Martin did not enter a plea Wednesday and her court hearing was continued to July 2.

In the meantime, she remains in custody with bail set at more than $2 million.

Just a few days after Jauch disappeared, Martin began asking for money on Facebook.

“Melissa’s Personal Emergency Fundraiser” asked for $2,000. Martin stated in multiple posts that she needed money for bail she owed from a prior arrest.

The campaign was shared five times on her profile from Friday morning to Friday afternoon. Lompoc police tell KSBY News they are aware of the fundraiser and believe it was shared on Martin’s page following Jauch’s death.

Jauch was known for championing women’s rights, her love for cycling and her talent for playing the violin. Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne said Jauch was an important community activist who fought for worthy causes in the Lompoc community.

Eldri Terese Jauch

 

The North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center will hold a candlelight vigil in Jauch’s honor on Saturday.

Jauch was training to be a victim advocate for the center but never completed that training.

“Eldri was known to many people, loved by many people and it’s only fitting that we come together as a community and honor her and give people a place where they can come and begin their healing,” said Ann McCarty, Executive Director of the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center.

The public is invited to attend the vigil and share memories of Jauch.

“For as big of a city as it is, it’s still a small town and we’re all still connected in one way or another, so the Rape Crisis Center feels connected to Eldri on a much deeper level because we’re connected to so many others in the community,” McCarty said.

The vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on June 15 at Lompoc’s Centennial Square.

Jauch’s murder is the fourth in the City of Lompoc since March.

KSBY Staff

KSBY Staff

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