On March 4, 2016, ERIC MEHLMAUER pled guilty to killing TOBIAS KAISER, bringing
to a close a Cold Case Homicide investigation that spanned a decade.
On November 30, 2006, Eric Mehlmauer shot and killed Tobias Kaiser in a rental home
they shared in Fair Play. Mehlmauer shot Kaiser during a heated argument over the theft of
personal property, and the two had a history of bad blood stemming from an illegal marijuana
cultivation scheme that failed to produce expected profits.
After killing Kaiser, Mehlmauer and several accomplices took Kaiser's body and put it
inside a metal tank, welded the tank shut, and then buried it on the rental property. Mehlmauer
and his accomplices then took drastic steps to destroy any possible forensic evidence, going so far as
to replace floor tiles and wall board in the room where the homicide took place.
Alarmed when they had not heard from Kaiser after several days, his family reported
Kaiser as a missing person. The missing person investigation soon turned into a homicide
investigation when a confidential witness and other evidence came to light. The investigation
stalled, however, as investigators were unable to locate Kaiser's body or find any additional
cooperative witnesses or evidence of the crime.
The case was deemed a "cold case" in 2014 and re-assigned to the El Dorado County Cold
Case Task Force. This unit, comprised of Investigators and Attorneys from the District Attorney's
Office, a Forensic Scientist from the California Department of Justice and Detectives from the
Sheriff's Department and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department., worked together to develop
additional leads, witnesses and evidence that led to the arrest of Eric Mehlmauer and an accomplice
on January 15, 2015.
On March 27, 2015, the Task Force was able to finally recover Tobias Kaiser's body and
return him to his family.
On Friday, March 4, 2016, Mehlmauer pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and
admitted a Special Allegation that he used a firearm in the commission of that crime. After hearing
victim impact statements from Kaiser's family, the Honorable Judge Melikian sentenced defendant
to ten years in the State Prison.
District Attorney Vern Pierson said, "This case is another example of the work being done
by the Cold Case Task Force to bring killers to justice and hopefully provide some closure for the
families of these victims. I want to acknowledge the hard work of District Attorney Investigators
John Gaines and Paul Moschini, as well as Deputy District Attorney Joe Alexander. Without their
efforts this case might still be unsolved."