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Search for Castlewood couple's killers continues

Investigators chasing leads, but call the process 'frustrating'

It's been six weeks since authorities discovered the bodies of Charlene Abendroth, 57, and her husband Ernest Scherer, Jr., 60, in their Castlewood Country Club home, victims of an apparent double homicide.

With no arrests to report, investigators are calling the case "frustrating," but are hopeful it will be resolved.

"It's been very frustrating," said Sgt. Scott Dudek of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, which is handling the case because Castlewood is in an unincorporated part of the county. "We're optimistic there will be a conclusion in this at some time, hopefully in the near future."

The couple, married for 31 years, were found brutally beaten to death March 14 by a country club employee, after the couple's daughter from Utah became concerned and asked that someone check on them. It's believed that the couple was killed in the hours after returning home from a dinner at the country club on March 7. They were found clothed in their sleepwear. Authorities have been careful not to disclose too many details about the case and the official cause of death by the county coroner's office has still not been released.

Dudek said he can say for sure that investigators don't believe the killings were random.

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"We're still working on it 24/7," he said.

Authorities have been focusing on the couple's son, Ernest "Skip" Scherer III as of late. It was revealed a couple weeks ago that the sheriff's department seized a red Chevy Camaro for forensic investigation, but officials haven't confirmed whether that car belongs to Scherer III, which DMV records show him owning a vehicle of that description. Sheriff's deputies said they have served a search warrant on the son's home in Brea, Calif., searching it on March 22, the day funeral services were held for the couple in Pleasanton.

"It's not just the son (we're looking into)," Dudek said. "There are still other people who have not been cleared yet."

The possible leads investigators are exploring focus on the life of Scherer Jr. and not Abendroth, who was a beloved professor at Cal State East Bay for over three decades. Scherer Jr. was a former school board member in San Ramon who was recalled. Just days before his death, he was preparing to file paperwork against the school district's attempt at a parcel tax. In addition to education, Scherer Jr. was interested in the game of poker and investment in real estate. Scherer III is a professional poker player with career earnings of over $300,000. While investigators have said they don't believe Scherer Jr. had any poker debts, they have declined to answer whether the son did.

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Search for Castlewood couple's killers continues

Investigators chasing leads, but call the process 'frustrating'

by Janet Pelletier / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 30, 2008, 11:33 am

It's been six weeks since authorities discovered the bodies of Charlene Abendroth, 57, and her husband Ernest Scherer, Jr., 60, in their Castlewood Country Club home, victims of an apparent double homicide.

With no arrests to report, investigators are calling the case "frustrating," but are hopeful it will be resolved.

"It's been very frustrating," said Sgt. Scott Dudek of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, which is handling the case because Castlewood is in an unincorporated part of the county. "We're optimistic there will be a conclusion in this at some time, hopefully in the near future."

The couple, married for 31 years, were found brutally beaten to death March 14 by a country club employee, after the couple's daughter from Utah became concerned and asked that someone check on them. It's believed that the couple was killed in the hours after returning home from a dinner at the country club on March 7. They were found clothed in their sleepwear. Authorities have been careful not to disclose too many details about the case and the official cause of death by the county coroner's office has still not been released.

Dudek said he can say for sure that investigators don't believe the killings were random.

"We're still working on it 24/7," he said.

Authorities have been focusing on the couple's son, Ernest "Skip" Scherer III as of late. It was revealed a couple weeks ago that the sheriff's department seized a red Chevy Camaro for forensic investigation, but officials haven't confirmed whether that car belongs to Scherer III, which DMV records show him owning a vehicle of that description. Sheriff's deputies said they have served a search warrant on the son's home in Brea, Calif., searching it on March 22, the day funeral services were held for the couple in Pleasanton.

"It's not just the son (we're looking into)," Dudek said. "There are still other people who have not been cleared yet."

The possible leads investigators are exploring focus on the life of Scherer Jr. and not Abendroth, who was a beloved professor at Cal State East Bay for over three decades. Scherer Jr. was a former school board member in San Ramon who was recalled. Just days before his death, he was preparing to file paperwork against the school district's attempt at a parcel tax. In addition to education, Scherer Jr. was interested in the game of poker and investment in real estate. Scherer III is a professional poker player with career earnings of over $300,000. While investigators have said they don't believe Scherer Jr. had any poker debts, they have declined to answer whether the son did.

Comments

Michael S. Magill, CFE, CPP
another community
on May 4, 2008 at 9:16 am
Michael S. Magill, CFE, CPP, another community
on May 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

Given the violent nature of this crime, it was certainly someone who got "up close and personal" to Ernie and Charlene. And, also, why they were working so hard to clear (or damn) people (like their son, Skip)who were close to them, or had grudges against them. We have known the Scherer's peripherally over the years, as their son, Skip, was best friends with our son during their high school years and after. Skip is a good guy, a good husband, and a good father who, with his Dad's guidance, followed his passion into the professional poker field. He's not some sleezy, green-shade-wearing nasty guy, but, in my estimation, one of the good guys. I would hope the Sheriff's are working as just hard on other leads than just those that might point to, or away from, Skip.

This is really a "who done it?", and our thoughts and prayers are with the Scherer's kids and family, as well as with the Alameda County S.O. to find the evil person(s) who committed this henious crime.


Qwerty
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2008 at 10:36 am
Qwerty, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2008 at 10:36 am


I'm sure the police are going to work on any and all leads they can find . Most people would seem to agree that the nature of the crime suggests it is personal to some degree and not random. It makes sense then that they would start with family which are the most personal connections of all. If he is innocent, then hopefully he will be cleared quickly which is what I'm sure everyone in his position would want. and if he isn't innocent...

I do find it strange that the Scherer's took out a $500,000 line of credit only recently and on a home they only bought a few years prior. That is a good way to get a large sum of money quickly. However, that begs the question why did they need it so quickly? This isn't typical behavior for people that are so close to retirement age (I think they were around 60)







jefe Coyote
Livermore
on May 5, 2008 at 11:34 am
jefe Coyote, Livermore
on May 5, 2008 at 11:34 am

I think that it's a matter of time. The killer (s) will be caught and he/she/they will be brought to justice.

Never give up hope!


Cholo
Livermore
on May 8, 2008 at 10:33 am
Cholo, Livermore
on May 8, 2008 at 10:33 am

Hi Lisa & Qwerty, the mean spirited comments are by Cholo wannabees. Not me/Cholo.

The murder of this couple is tragic and I remain hopeful that the killers will be caught and punished.




Lisa
another community
on May 12, 2008 at 1:38 pm
Lisa, another community
on May 12, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Thank you Cholo. Qwerty, I have seen you post that comment about the $500,000 line of credit on many articles. Where did you get this information? I do not remember reading it in any articles. I would love to know if this is true or not. Thanks


Qwerty
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2008 at 11:01 am
Qwerty, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2008 at 11:01 am

Hi Lisa,

The comment on the $500,000 line of credit did appear in several articles early on. I don't recall which ones, but I think you might be able to google them to find out. I also find it interesting that police have refused to comment on certain things like:
(1) the official cause of death (from the coroner's report)
(2) why they were ripping up floorboards and what they found (press has asked but no comments were made)
(3) Many stories have surfaces about the son's gambling career, but police won't say whether or not the son had any gambling debts.





Qwerty
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm
Qwerty, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I don't know if I'm coming or going? I went to the store and forgot what to do.


Qwerty
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2008 at 4:58 pm
Qwerty, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2008 at 4:58 pm

The previous comment was not posted by me, someone else is copying my info...another reason why I'd prefer having a site where you can register and only post under your registered name and none other...


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