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Pig remains found down cliff near murder victim’s home in Meiners Oaks Saturday

Sheriff's investigators found pig remains off a cliff along Rice Road on May 18.

Pig remainss May 18Pigremains22

A Rice Road resident saw more than the usual number of buzzards flying above the property where Houston Auer is presumed to have been murdered May 12, so around noon May 18, he walked across the road and looked over the edge of the cliff. When he saw what appeared to be bloody paper towels, he called a relative retired from law enforcement who advised he call the sheriff.
After investigators spent several hours at the scene and called out the Ventura County Sheriff’s volunteer Upper Ojai Search and Rescue team to rappel off the cliff to collect evidence, Senior Deputy Chip Cadman with the Major Crimes Bureau of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office had some surprising news: The blood on numerous paper towels at various places down the steep cliff appeared to be from a “harvested pig.”
Before they found the pig’s remains, the 200 block of Rice Road was closed and the area around the cliff’s edge where the paper towels were visible was roped off with yellow “crime scene” tape. A forensic scientist in a Crime Scene Investigations van took several blood samples from an area marked off by six orange traffic cones.
The Upper Ojai Search and Rescue team arrived at about 5:15 p.m. with their climbing gear and lowered Alex Laine of Ojai and Brandon Nichols of Santa Paula, with their orange hard hats, down the cliff.
The men collected about 14 bloody towels that they put first in paper bags. They then placed the paper bags into red plastic evidence bags with yellow numbered markers, taking photos of each bit of evidence and measuring its distance down the cliff.
“Having these guys able to respond at a moment’s notice is a big help,” Cadman said of the Search and Rescue team. “We appreciate their willingness to come out” and the specialized skills they bring.
Cadman said the investigation into the suspected murder of Houston Auer, 22, by his roommate, Cameron Lykins, 23, of Meiners Oaks, reported May 12 in the 1100 block of Meyer Road in Meiners Oaks, is ongoing. Some tips have been called in, he said, but the victim’s body has not yet been found.
Lykins was arrested on suspicion of murder the afternoon of May 12 in Lone Pine in Inyo County and is being held on $2 million bail. He is set to be arraigned June 13.
Lykins’ truck has California license plate 39077S1. Anyone with information about the crime or who saw the vehicle between 1 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. on May 12 is asked to call Sgt. Carlos Macias of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office at 805-384-4761.
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