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.

Gin Lu "Tommy" Shwe (Family photo)

Gin Lu “Tommy” Shwe (Family photo)

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.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


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