MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU-AP) -
Three people arrested Wednesday in the killing of a Marin County tantra yoga teacher were tracked to Oregon by detectives using GPS technology in the victim's car and hundreds of tips from people who thought they looked suspicious, authorities said.
The suspects — two men and a woman — were arrested in Portland Wednesday afternoon at about 2:15 p.m. outside a dining hall and were in possession of the victim's car, Marin County sheriff's Lt. Doug Pittman said.
The arrest came two days after the body of Steve Carter, 67, was found on a trail in upscale Marin County, where he was living and caring for his cancer-stricken wife Lokita Carter.
Authorities were also aided by surveillance footage from a gas station in Point Reyes that was taken about a half-hour after the slaying, Pittman said. He credited the community with providing numerous tips that helped authorities bring the suspects into custody.
"So many people are in possession of cameras in cars, homes, businesses," he said. "Those types of systems became crucial to the pursuit and apprehension."
Pittman displayed an enlarged photo that showed the two men and woman suspected in the trail slaying at the Point Reyes gas station.
Mark Reano, owner of Greenbridge Gas & Auto in Point Reyes, said authorities came to the station early Wednesday for the video.
"They grabbed it and went," said Reano, who did not see the suspects.
Pittman said he did not immediately have the names of the people arrested. Authorities have not provided a motive either but said it did not appear the suspects knew the victim.
"We're not even sure who these people are right now," he said.
Marin County sheriff's Capt. Dave Augustus described the three people as drifters and said it appeared it was a random shooting.
Authorities believe Carter drove to the trail near Fairfax in his 2003 Volkswagen that was missing after the attack.
Followers credited Carter with improving their romantic relationships by teaching tantra, a philosophy of meditation, yoga and sexuality famously embraced by the rock star Sting.
Stunned students and supporters mourned their beloved teacher who was shot multiple times and found still holding the leash of his wounded Doberman pinscher when he was found. The dog is expected to recover.
The Carters launched the Ecstatic Living Institute in rural Middletown, California, about 16 years ago to teach tantra to couples around the world. They held workshops nearby at the clothing-optional Harbin Hot Springs, which was destroyed last month in a wildfire.
"He was my mentor," said Greg Whitmore, 37, a firefighter who attended several weeklong retreats led by the Carters. "It was intoxicating. People wanted to be around him."
Last year, the couple turned the institute over to a former student, Logan Rose, and moved to Costa Rica in semi-retirement, teaching an occasional class. But soon after moving, Lokita was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"It has been a very traumatic season for us with Lokita's cancer, then the Valley Fire that destroyed our beloved Harbin Hot Springs," Rose said.
"This is the most devastating blow," Rose said of the homicide. "We are heartbroken."
Lokita Carter didn't respond to requests for comment.
Followers, students and friends have been pledging money and offering sympathy,
Joya Petra Gallasch said Carter was responsible for adding her new first name during a training session at Harbin Hot Springs. Gallasch said she was depressed at the time and Carter led her to adopt the new first name of Joya.
"I've always been a super joyous person," Gallasch said. "He knew intuitively that it was time to get a new name. He exuded a form of brilliance."
As she blogged about her treatment, Lokita Carter has been raising money for her cancer treatments at https://www.gofundme.com/7q7yfu7ws
People who live in the area say they often use the trails for recreation. They said this killing makes them think about their own safety.
"I'm absolutely shocked," said San Anselmo resident Pam Cordingley. "I would never expect something like that along the hiking trials around here. I've lived here for 38 years. I've never heard of anything like that."
"I'm looking to see who was nearby. It was definitely unnerving made me tense and wary," said Fairfax resident Eric Holter.
The Marin County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information about the case to call (415) 473-7265.