VENTURA – January 24
Pursuant to an investigation lasting more than ten weeks, James Nathaniel Wilkerson, a 36 year-old transient, was arrested January 20th on suspicion of homicide in the death of homeless activist Sarah Overholser.
The lifeless body of Overholser, 32, was discovered awash in the surf 200 yards offshore near Sycamore Cove at Point Mugu State Park, just below Pacific Coast U.S. Hwy 1 late in the afternoon of November 7, 2011. The sighting of her body was reported by a helicopter pilot cruising the coastline. According to media statements made by James Baroni, Chief Deputy Ventury County Medical Examiner, cause of death was ultimately determined to be “asphyxia by strangulation.”
Overholzer’s was the first of two dead bodies found along the coastline within a 24-hour period, as the body of a man unrelated to Overholser was discovered in the surf several miles south at Venice Beach. Captain Mike Aranda, Ventura County Sheriff Media Relations Officer, soon thereafter reported that detectives were “working around the clock on the case.”
Overholser was well-regarded in the Ventura County resource center community, was the mother of an elementary school-aged son, and was active with Ventura County Rescue Lighthouse. Just two days prior to her death, Overholser had personally stood before the Oxnard City Council to articulate her views about the need for family shelters within Ventura County
Wilkerson’s is the second arrest in this case, following that of Kristina Canell, 28, on November 23, 2011. Herself a transient, Canell has prior misdemeanor convictions, including assault with a deadly weapon, child cruelty, and vandalism. Both suspects are scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing to face charges on March 9, 2012 in Ventura County Superior Court
Wilkerson was booked into Ventura County Jail where he remains held on $1,000,000 bail.
Photos: courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking
keyt.com: Arrest in Strangulation Murder