Crime

Candlelight vigil scheduled to remember Chapman murders

A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 tonight to remember Bill and Lena Chapman, who were found murdered in the burned remains of their Merced home four years ago Friday.

The vigil will take place at the former location of the couple's home, at 870 E. South Bear Creek Drive. No one has been arrested in connection with the unsolved murder.

Alicia Cerruti, 29, the couple's granddaughter, said her family is still holding out hope someone will volunteer information to solve the case.

"We're just trying to keep it in the forefront of everyone's memory and making sure that they remember the people that did this haven't come forward," Cerruti said.

Firefighters found the Chapmans' bodies in the early morning hours of Oct. 1, 2006, after extinguishing a blaze at their home. The killer, or killers, probably set the fire to destroy evidence.

Detectives haven't released a motive for the murder or what evidence was collected.

Family members have said the elderly couple didn't own anything that would have made them a target for thieves. Lena, 81, was found in the couple's bedroom. Bill, 91, was in the bathroom nearby.

The state is offering a $50,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest in the case.

The Chapmans were residents of Merced for 50 years. Anyone with information about the murders is asked to call Merced police detective John Fister at (209) 385-4755, or the department's automated tip-line at (209) 385-4725. Calls are kept confidential and you can remain anonymous.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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