About 90 volunteer detectives from the Contra Costa County and Alameda County sheriff's offices scoured an area around the Castlewood Country Club Saturday looking for clues regarding the recent slaying of Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and his wife Charlene Abendroth, 57, in their home near the club.
The couple's bodies were discovered March 14, although investigators believe they were murdered possibly a week earlier. They were last seen leaving a dinner at the country club about 8 p.m. March 7. Scherer missed a meeting he had scheduled the following Saturday morning on March 8 and the two were never seen alive again.
In addition to volunteers and dogs searching through the brush-filled rural area near Pleasanton-Sunol Road, sheriff's search and rescue team divers waded into the water of the Arroyo De La Laguna, which flows through the country club's property.
"We are searching for anything connected with the homicides," Alameda County Sheriff's Office Sgt. J.D. Nelson said."We're working to tie up those loose ends. We have found several items that we will look at carefully but nothing that we can absolutely connect with the case."
Investigators spent about six hours walking through the brush and search along the creek bed. Besides divers, search dogs and metal surveillance equipment were used in the search.
On March 14, at about 12:30 p.m., the sheriff's office received a call from a Castlewood Country Club employee who saw what appeared to be a body in the couple's home. Sheriff's deputies responded and entered the two-story, 4,000-square-foot home, where they found the two bodies. Both victims were wearing their pajamas and had been badly beaten.
As investigators searched the country club area, a funeral was being held a mile away at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pleasanton, where Abendroth was a member.
The family is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the killer or killers. Sheriff's investigators are asking anyone with information to contact them at 510-272-6878.