The Lompoc community came together Saturday to mourn the loss of Eldri Jauch, 74, who police say was murdered this month.
Scores of people attended the vigil at Centennial Square for the woman they say was a pillar in the Lompoc community.
“Everyone knew her. She rode her bike around town,” said Pastor Jane Quandt, Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ.
She was also known to play her violin at Lompoc’s Farmer’s Market — a free spirit who had been around the world.
“She was 74, but she was a hell of lot more live than most of us are,” Quandt said.
Jauch was born in Switzerland to a physicist father and activist mother.
She carried her mother’s spirit of activism throughout her own life, friends say. Jauch was known for championing women’s rights. She was a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpenteria with an MA in counseling. Jauch later became an adjunct professor at the same university.
Her friends describe her as lifelong learner.
“She was learning Italian with us,” Elena Jones said. “She was fluent in German English and French. She also spoke some Spanish.”
Jauch belonged to multiple spiritual groups in Lompoc, spending time at the mosque, the Buddhist Center, and the Christian church, but overall the people of this community were family.
“As we move forward and this is a moment of healing, she will be in our hearts,” Dr. Farooq Husayn, Islamic Center of Lompoc said to the crowd. “I am thinking of what she would like us to do. I think she is expecting not just words but action. We need to make this vigil, a vigil and action and make changes in our community to reduce violence and replace it with care and compassion.”
Melissa Leigh Martin is in the Santa Barbara County Jail. Police have not released a motive for the murder of Jauch but do believe martin was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time. Her bail is set at $2 million dollars.
Martin is expected back in court on July 2.
Story by Keli Moore.