YUBA CITY, CA—UPDATE: Sutter County Sheriff's Department announced on Sunday 21-year-old Joseph Simlick will be charged in the murders of his ex-girlfriend's parents Jack and Susan Martin.
------------------- They appear to be innocent victims; caught in the crossfire of a love affair gone bad. In custody is the 21 year old boyfriend of one of their daughters. A young man who may have killed over a broken heart.
That situation may be the relationship between Joseph Simlick and the couples' daughter Kendall. Kendall had apparently broken up with the 21 year old man and he wasn't taking it well. "From what I understand, he was giving her a pretty bad time," says Doris Ridenour who lives across the street. Ridenour tells FOX 40 she hasn't seen Simlick in at least a month, " I'd see Kendall and him, they'd be out washing their cars in the driveway and I'd waive and holler. But I didn't really know him."
Simlick is in custody; but the Sutter County Sheriff's Department says he is not a suspect. "We have a person of interest in custody. And the charges he's in custody for right now are burglary and false imprisonment. Does that relate to what happened here? Uh, it doesn't directly relate to this, no." says Captain Lewis McElfresh.
Simlick's facebook page reveals little about him or his relationship with Kendall. Neighbors say they heard gunshots as the house was burning. "I came running out of the house and saw flames," Ed Ridenour rushed to move a car and a boat away from the burning house. But investigators are quick to note: Jack Martin was a hunter, there was ammunition in the burning garage and the shots are not related to the crime.
"They were such a devoted family," Jack and Susan Martin were active in their church; and Barry Shirley--Jack's best friend--says "He was just the nicest guy in the world." Doris Ridenour concurs, "I just, it's just hard to believe Jack and Susan are gone; the most wonderful people."
Autopsy results are not yet available, and investigators won't tell FOX 40 how the couple died. But there are growing indications the Martin's was dead before the fire was set. A fire that may have been intended to cover up a crime. Investigators remain tight lipped.