Handyman Arrested for Allegedly Strangling, Burying Body of Former 70-Year-Old Silicon Valley School Official in Shallow Grave

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Authorities say a handyman has been arrested on suspicion of strangling to death a former Silicon Valley school board member whose body was found in a shallow grave.

The body of Gin Lu "Tommy" Shwe, a Cupertino man civic leader, was found in a shallow grave on Jan. 25, 2017. (Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office)
The body of Gin Lu “Tommy” Shwe, a Cupertino man civic leader, was found in a shallow grave on Jan. 25, 2017. (Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office)

Christopher Ellebracht, 38, is facing murder, financial elder abuse and forgery charges in connection with the death of Gin Lu “Tommy” Shwe, whose body was found Jan. 25 in Tulare County —  hundreds of miles from the victim’s home, according to the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office.

Ellebracht, a handyman who had worked for Shwe for two years, was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

“This is a callous and coldhearted murder of a prominent community member, pioneer and family man,” Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a news conference Monday. “Any loss of life is tragic, but the strangulation and soulless burial in an effort to cover and evade the pursuit of justice is especially troubling.”

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