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Third person arrested after body found in Blacklake Golf Resort pond

Third person arrested after body found in Blacklake Golf Resort pond

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Benjamin Mersai


A third suspect was arrested Monday in the 2018 killing of Joseph Martin Govey at the same golf course where the victim’s body was found, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives arrested 33-year-old Benjamin Mersai of Grover Beach at 4:48 p.m., as he was recreating at Blacklake Golf Resort in the 1400-block of Golf Course Lane in Nipomo, said spokeswoman Raquel Zick.

Mersai was to be booked at the Main Jail on suspicion of murder, conspiracy and being an accessory to murder, all felonies, and will be held without bail, Zick said.

Detectives arrested 35-year-old Kimberly Machleit and 37-year-old Donald Anderson, both from Santa Maria, on Sept. 22 on suspicion of killing and dismembering Govey in December 2018.

Machleit and Anderson both remain in custody, and the court has ordered that Machleit be held without bail, Zick said. Anderson’s bail was set at $1 million.

Investigators believe Govey was killed and dismembered in Santa Maria before his body was disposed of in a pond at the Blacklake Golf Resort, where detectives and members of the sheriff's dive team retrieved his remains as part of an ongoing missing person’s case.

Detectives have not released a motive for the killing.


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