Cause of death released in Arbuckle double-homicide

Last week, the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office released the results of the autopsies for the two women found murdered in Arbuckle on  Jan. 25, determining that the cause of death for both Kimberly Lynn Taylor, 39, and Jessica Lynn Mazak, 25, was blunt force trauma.

The weapon or weapons used is still under investigation “based on evidence found at the scene.” said Lt. Mark Contreras on Monday.

The man suspected of murdering the two women, 49-year-old Arbuckle resident Martin Christian Ehrke, has been in custody since Jan. 25 and is scheduled to appear in court today to enter a plea. He was arraigned on Jan. 26 on two counts of homicide, along with a special allegation for multiple murders. Colusa-based defense attorney John K. Hinely was appointed as Ehrke’s public defender on that date.

Because of the special circumstances, Ehrke could be eligible for the death penalty, but Colusa County District Attorney Matthew Beauchamp said on Monday that it was “way too early for that decision.”

Ehrke was arrested in Colusa after deputies were dispatched to a report of suspicions circumstances at around 4 AM on Jan. 25, at 6069 Hillgate Road in Arbuckle. An anonymous reporting party called the Sheriff’s Office just before 4 AM, advising dispatchers that he had returned home to discover blood on the walls of a residence he shared with two female roommates, whom he hadn’t seen since around lunch on Jan. 24.  When deputies arrived, they discovered a crime scene and located Taylor’s body intact in a chest freezer, which was located in a secondary dwelling on the property. The Colusa County Dive Team later found Mazak’s body submerged in a nearby pond on the property. Shortly after, officers began investigating Ehrke, who had left the residence on the evening of Jan. 24 and checked into the Colusa Medical Center for an unknown reason before being discharged. He was eventually located at a residence in Colusa, where he was detained for questioning, the Sheriff’s Office said. He was later arrested and booked into jail for two counts of homicide.

The Sheriff’s Office said that Ehrke and the two victims were all known to be residing on the property together, although the victims had no relationship to the property owner, whom they identified as Ehrke’s mother. ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net