Crime, Fire + Courts

Davis murder investigation continues ‘with a vengeance’

By From page A1 | April 23, 2013

Davis police continue to sift through numerous leads — some more promising than others — as their search for the killer of an elderly couple enters its second week.

“We’re pursuing with a vengeance those ones that have a high potential,” Police Chief Landy Black said in an interview Monday following the Yolo County District Attorney’s annual crime victim tribute in Woodland, where the names of Oliver “Chip” Northup and his wife, Claudia Maupin, were the first of dozens of victims’ names that were read aloud during the ceremony.

“There are leads going in all sorts of different directions — from that group of people that are known to the victims, and then we’re also pursuing people unknown to them, with that happenstance sort of association,” Black added. “We’re continuing to make progress.”

Officers performing a welfare check found Northup, 87, and Maupin, 76, fatally stabbed in their Cowell Boulevard condominium on the night of April 14. The couple had not been seen since the day before, when Northup performed at the Davis Farmers Market with his band, the Putah Creek Crawdads.

When they failed to appear at both a memorial service and a Crawdads benefit performance the following day, concerned family members summoned police to the South Davis condo. Investigators have described encountering a violent scene, with no indications of a burglary gone awry.

Detectives continue to receive assistance in their investigation from the FBI and state Department of Justice, among other law-enforcement agencies. Last week, the police department also established a tip line — 530-747-5439 — for the public to phone in any clues they might have about the case.

While not voluminous in number, “some of the leads that have been called in have been very valuable and we have been following up on those,” Black said.

Meanwhile, relatives of Northup and Maupin have planned a memorial service for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road, where Northup was a charter member, and where the couple first met before marrying 15 years ago.

Northup’s daughter, Mary Northup, said Monday she feels assured that authorities “are working as hard as they can on this case.”

“I have confidence that they will find the person who did this, but I also understand it might take a while, and that part of it is difficult for a variety of reasons,” she said. “I would like the perpetrator off the streets — I would hate for anybody else to go through this.”

Northup said she’s considered the possibility that the killer may have been known to her father, who practiced law for 63 years and most recently handled criminal defense appeals for the California Appellate Project, which reviews cases for prison inmates.

“That makes me feel bad, because it would mean poor Claudia was brought down for no reason whatsoever,” Northup said. At the same time, “I can’t imagine that anybody that knew either of them would do this.”

Despite their heartache, the family has been uplifted by the outpouring of condolences and support from community members whose lives the victims had touched.

“That’s really helpful to hear,” Northup said. “It helps me to keep them alive in my heart, that pieces of them move on.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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