A preliminary hearing has concluded, and a Santa Cruz County judge has concluded that there is enough evidence to put 54-year-old Theodore Lengyel of El Cerrito on trial for the murder of a Capitola woman he was in a relationship with.

We first learned the week before Christmas in 2023 that Lengyel was wanted for questioning in connection with the disappearance of his longtime girlfriend, 61-year-old Alice "Alyx" Kamakaokalani Herrmann. Hermann was reported missing December 12 after she failed to show up for a planned flight to Hawaii, and Lengyel spent at least a week evading police and was then reported to have traveled to Portland, Oregon.

More details emerged during a two-day preliminary hearing, as the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports, about Lengyel's activities, and about evidence of an apparent confession — or partial confession — that Lengyel gave to Herrmann's brother and to his own brother prior to his arrest.

Hermann was last seen on December 3 when she attended a practice with Outrigger Santa Cruz, a recreational paddle club of which she had been a member for a number of years. Her body was found a month later, on January 2, in Tilden Regional Park in the East Bay.

We still do not know Hermann's exact cause of death. Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office Forensic Pathologist Stephany Fiore testified at the hearing that the body was too badly decomposed by the time it was found to make a determination. The official cause of death, as the Sentinel reports, was "homicide by unspecified means."

We know from testimony by the lead investigator in the case, Capitola Police detective Zack Currier, that some "dime-size" spots of blood, determined to be Hermann's, were found in the rear compartment of her Toyota Highlander. The car was found parked outside Lengyel's home in El Cerrito.

Currier further testified, per the Sentinel, that he observed what appeared to be an aged bruise in the shape of a bit mark on Lengyel's bicep.

Police seem to have evidence, either from witness statements or otherwise, of confessional statements that Lengyel made, too, in the weeks after the alleged crime.

As the Sentinel reports, from Currier's testimony, Lengyel traveled to Portland to hand over his car and his dog to his brother, and then reportedly "cried and sobbed for most of a train trip back to California" — this is according to the brother. Lengyel would not tell his brother what happened, but reportedly said something to the effect of "brace yourself, it’s much worse than you could ever imagine."

In a two-hour phone call to Herrmann's brother, Lengyel also reportedly apologized repeatedly, and said something in the vein of "he didn’t mean to hurt anybody and that people are so fragile and people break easily," per Currier's account of the brother's statements.

Lengyel reportedly told the brother he had placed Herrmann in a fetal position in Tilden park, under some rocks, and that he had tried unsuccessfully to hang himself in the same spot.

We're also now learning that Lengyel turned himself in at the El Cerrito Police Station on December 14, but was sent home because they said they had not received any arrest warrant from Capitola police. Lengyel also reportedly told Currier, as the Sentinel reports, that the Capitola police had fucked this up and that he should have been arrested already when he still had not been.

Lengyel was ultimately arrested on January 2 after Herrmann's body was found. He pleaded not guilty to her murder one month later.

It remains to be seen what the defense's strategy in the case will be — and if they are just hoping for a verdict of involuntary manslaughter or something similar. No trial date has been set. He faces felony charges of murder, burglary and vehicle theft.

Lengyel, who like Herrmann worked as a software engineer, had been a musician and a founding member of the Oregon-founded band Mr. Bungle, in his youth. He had gone by the name Mylo Stone, in the music world, and reportedly left Mr. Bungle on bad terms in the mid 90s.

Herrmann was, according to a friend who spoke earlier to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, a devoted friend and mother to a daughter, and something of an overachiever. She was, according to friend Betsy Marvit, "a musician, pescatarian, soft-spoken lover of life, and an adventurous athlete even at 61," and held a doctorate in neuroscience and a black belt in taekwondo.

Previously: Former Mr. Bungle Band Member Pleads Not Guilty In Murder of Girlfriend