SANTA CLARA COUNTY — According to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, an arrest was made in connection to the disappearance and murder of a 70-year-old Cupertino resident.
The suspect, 38-year-old Christopher Ellebracht, was arrested after trying to cash a $10,000 dollar check that was drawn from the victim’s bank account. It was reported that on January 19, 70-year-old Gin Lu “Tommy” Shwe went missing from his home and was out of contact with family and friends.
Days leading up to the gruesome find in Visalia told a tale of a brutal strangulation, kidnapping, and a forged ransom that eventually led to the arrest of a known suspect who had worked directly with Shwe as a handyman.
The Sheriff’s Department announced the commitment of the Department to help bring Elebracht to justice for the murder, financial elder abuse, and forgery. Ellebracht was arraigned on all three charges on January 30, 2017.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, in partnering with West Valley Patrol deputies from the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit and Major Crimes, followed a trail that led the body of Mr. Shwe, was strangled and found in a shallow grave in the Tulare County Wilderness not far from where a call was received that depicted a man threatening individuals in the area with a knife.
Video surveillance footage of Ellebracht shows that he purchased a shovel from Home Depot. Motive behind the kidnapping and murder by Ellenbracht appears to have been done in forethought with the intention to steal money in order to benefit from the killing.