First-Degree Murder Charge Filed in Killing of Silver Springs Grandmother

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Nine criminal counts, ranging from first degree murder to grand larceny, were filed Thursday against the grandson of a Silver Springs woman found dead weeks after she disappeared.

Lyon County District Attorney Robert Auer said now that charges have been filed against 22-year-old James Masterson, the next step is to get Sacramento County authorities to release Masterson, who is in custody there on drug and theft charges.

How long it takes for Lyon County to get custody of Masterson depends on whether Masterson fights extradiition, Auer said.

The victim, 72-year-old Peggy Herlacher, disappeared from her Silver Springs home sometime around July 22. Masterson was arrested days later in Sacramento driving her car and using her credit cards.

Masterson, who soon became a suspect Herlacher's disappearance, did not cooperate with Lyon County investigators after his arrest in California.

Meantime, family and friends searched all around the Silver Springs area for any sign of Herlacher. It wouldn't be until several weeks later when a San Joaquin Sheriff Deputy noticed something unusual in the backyard of Masterson's grandfather's home in Riverbank.

It was there where Herlacher's body was finally discovered, wrapped in bedding and buried in a shallow grave.

Masterson could face the death penalty.