The daughter of blues guitarist Elvin Bishop may have been involved in a botched extortion plot that led to her savage death and the slayings of four others, including her mother, police say.
Two brothers and their female roommate have been arrested on drug possession and burglary charges, and police consider them "potential suspects" in the slayings.
Before her death, Selina Bishop, 22, may have joined the suspects in a plot to extort $100,000 from two other victims, an elderly couple, Concord police Lt. Paul Crain said.
"Why and when Selina became a victim is unclear," said Sgt. Douglas Pittman of the Marin County Sheriff's Office.
The Sacramento County coroner announced today that the three dismembered bodies found in gym bags in a river had been identified as those of Bishop and Ivan and Annette Stineman, an elderly couple from Concord.
Police also recovered what may be Bishop's diary and are trying to determine whether it is authentic, Crain said.
Glenn Helzer, 30, who had dated Bishop, his brother Justin Helzer, 28, and Dawn Godman, 26, were arrested Monday in their Concord home and are being held on drug possession and burglary charges. No one has been charged in the slayings.
"I know my two sons are totally innocent. They're innocent," their mother, Carma Helzer, said today.
Police say the crimes began around July 30, when the Stinemans were last seen.
Bishop, or someone posing as her, called a bank before two of the Stinemans' checks, written to Bishop's name, were cashed last week, Crain said.
It's unclear who fell victim next. One police theory is that Bishop fled in fear and was killed to cover up the Stineman deaths.
The morning after Bishop was last seen with Glenn Helzer in a Berkeley pub, her mother, Jennifer Villarin, 45, and friend Joseph Gamble, 54, were shot dead in Bishop's apartment.
Police say a growing amount of evidence links the five deaths:
* Glenn Helzer, Bishop's boyfriend, once worked as a stockbroker for the Stinemans, and either Bishop or someone posing as her called a bank to negotiate $100,000 in checks drawn from the Stinemans' account.
* Palm prints tie Justin Helzer and Godman to the Stineman van, which was found with a chain saw in the back.
* Stains believed to be human blood were found in their home, the Contra Costa Times reported. Investigators were conducting forensic tests to determine the origin of the blood.
* Bishop set up one or more bank accounts in the area for Glenn Helzer and deposited at least $25,000 in them, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Elvin Bishop, best known for his 1976 pop hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," was devastated by his ex-wife's death and daughter's disappearance, his record label said. He has not commented on the case.
A waitress at the cafe where Selina Bishop had worked and who has known her for years said today that the young woman became infatuated with Helzer after they met at a rave party around Easter--but that it was a one-sided relationship.
"He had no feelings for her," said the waitress, who said she was too fearful to be identified. "He just really had her confused, because he was deceiving her. She couldn't accept that because she had fallen for him."
According to the waitress, Helzer told Bishop he would inherit $100,000 to $125,000, and that she should open four or five accounts to deposit the money where his wife would not get it.
Contrary to published reports that the suspects and Bishop were involved in the "goth" movement, Crain said investigators have found no evidence of any occult role in the slayings.