CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a former Cupertino school board member earlier this month, Santa Clara County sheriff’s officials said Monday.
Detectives arrested Christopher Ellebracht in connection with the murder of Gin Lu “Tommy” Shwe, a 70-year-old Cupertino resident who formerly served on the Cupertino Union School District board and worked as a real estate agent, sheriff’s officials said.
On Jan. 18, Shwe was reported missing by his family. He was last seen leaving a 24-Hour Fitness in Sunnyvale the day before.
Authorities said Shwe was strangled by his employee Ellebracht, who worked as a handyman at some of Shwe’s properties.
According to the sheriff’s office, investigators followed a trail of leads that led them to Ellebracht, and the discovery of Shwe’s strangled body in a shallow grave in Tulare County.
Prior to his arrest, Ellebracht tried to cash a $10,000 check from Shwe’s account. He was also observed on video purchasing a shovel at Home Depot on the morning that Shwe was reported missing, sheriff’s officials said.
Ellebracht was arrested for brandishing a knife close to where the body was found.
Ellebracht will be arraigned in Santa Clara County Superior Court Monday afternoon on charges of murder, financial elder abuse, and forgery.
In a statement released by the department, authorities credited the Tulare County Sheriff’s office and Visalia police for their help in the case.
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