Police in Lompoc are investigating the city’s fourth murder since March. This time, a 74-year-old woman known for her community activism and colorful personality.
Lompoc police received a missing person report last week for Eldri Jauch and she was found dead over the weekend.
As of Monday afternoon, police said Jauch’s killer was still at large.
At an age when many people are winding down, friends of Jauch say the 74-year-old’s passion for serving her community burned hot.
“We were lucky to have her in our community,” said Ean Bahr, a friend of Jauch’s.
Bahr met Jauch through the short-lived Unitarian Universalist Church in Lompoc, where they both attended in recent years.
Jauch was known for championing women’s rights, her love for cycling, and her talent for playing the violin.
“Oh my gosh, absolutely, absolutely unique,” Bahr said. “She’d be seen riding her bike around town with her violin.”
In recent years, Jauch worked alongside Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann at the Lompoc Valley’s 1 Billion Rising community event, which raises awareness to end violence against women.
Hartmann said she’s deeply saddened by Jauch’s death.
“My heart goes out to her family and loved ones,” Hartmann said in a statement. “I hope for a swift and thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death so that her family and community can have closure. Her spirit and activism will be missed.”
Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne had similar praise of Jauch, calling the woman an important community activist who fought for worthy causes in the Lompoc community.
Police said Jauch was last seen alive Tuesday.
A missing person alert went out Thursday and by Sunday night, after police say a witness provided new information about Jauch’s disappearance, Jauch was found dead in a home somewhere in Lompoc.
Jauch’s death follows the recent deaths of a teenage girl, man, and infant, yet another painful blow to an already grieving community.
“It makes me profoundly sad, not only because we knew her and we liked her and she was one of ours, but because she was unique and Lompoc needs so many more people like her, not one less,” Bahr said.
Lompoc police declined an interview Monday but said they are doing the best they can with the resources available.
Jauch’s cause of death was not released but police do classify it a homicide.