Photo: Edmund P. St. John and Laura A. Lawrence
MARTINEZ — First, an elderly man was found dead at a residence located on Escondido Drive. Police later arrested his daughter and son-in-law who are believed responsible for causing his death through neglect.
This family’s tragic story came to light after someone called 911, because a 77-year-old man had stopped breathing.
First responders located the man inside a bedroom, and they determined he was dead on February 28 at 10:30 a.m. The man lived with his daughter, her husband and one child.
Officers conducted a preliminary investigation of the cause of his death, and they became suspicious. Their investigation revealed the man probably died due to neglect.
Investigators uncovered further evidence of neglect of the elderly man, and evidence of child cruelty occurring in the home. As a result, authorities arrested two adults living at the home deemed responsible for taking care of both victims
Officers arrested 50-year-old Laura A. Lawrence and her husband 49-year-old Edmund P. St. John. They were both booked into a Contra Costa County jail, and they have since been released.
Subsequently, Martinez police detectives submitted a case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Lawrence and St. John have been charged with murder, manslaughter, elder abuse, intimidating a witness, and child cruelty.
This investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information can call Detective Sgt. Shawn Moore at 925-372-3450.