A former saxophonist for the Northern California experimental metal-funk band Mr. Bungle was charged this week with first-degree murder after a body, believed to be that of his girlfriend, was found in a park in the state. Bay Area, authorities said.
Theobald “Theo” Lengyel, 54, is suspected of killing Alice “Alyx” Kamakaokalani Herrmann, 61, the Capitola Police Department said in a statement.
Herrmann, who lived in Capitola, a coastal city of 10,000, was last seen in Santa Cruz on December 3. Her relatives reported her disappearance nine days later.
Authorities have released few details about the case, which involved several Central Coast and Bay Area law enforcement agencies.
After Herrmann disappeared, police found his Toyota Highlander in front of Lengyel’s home in the town of El Cerrito, north of Berkeley.
Lengyel, who was also known as Mylo Stone and drove a 1989 Ford pickup truck with a license plate that read UNCLDRT, was believed to have driven from the Bay Area to Portland after his girlfriend disappeared, police said.
He “has not cooperated with the police investigation,” El Cerrito police said in a Dec. 16 statement.
This week, Capitola police said the investigation into Herrmann’s disappearance led authorities to “recover human remains in a wooded area within Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley.”
It is unclear when or where the body was found in the 2,079-acre park, which borders several cities. The Capitola Police Department declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
The police department said identification of the body is pending DNA confirmation from the Contra Costa County coroner’s department, which told the Times on Thursday that the coroner’s case had been moved to Santa Cruz County.
The Santa Cruz County coroner’s department declined to provide details and referred the investigation to Capitola police.
Lengyel was arrested Tuesday and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail. He has been charged with first-degree murder, robbery and auto theft, according to Santa Cruz County Superior Court records.
The Santa Cruz County Public Defender’s Office, which represents Lengyel, according to court records, did not respond to requests for comment.
Lengyel was an early member of Mr. Bungle, a thrash metal band formed in 1985 by a trio of high school classmates in the logging and fishing town of Eureka, Humboldt County. Original members included Mike Patton, who later became the leader of the rock band Faith No More.
Lengyel, who played saxophone, clarinet and keyboard, had joined the band in 1987, when they recorded a demo called “Bowel of Chiley,” with song titles including “Fart in a Bag” and “Cottage Cheese.” .
In a 1991 review of a Mr. Bungle performance, the late Jonathan Gold, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Times restaurant critic, wrote that “the nearly two-hour set seemed to drag on ad infinitum.”
At the performance at the now-defunct Club Lingerie on Sunset Boulevard, the band’s bassist was dressed as a jester, the drummer wore a demon mask, and a trumpeter was dressed as a carrot.
Mr. Bungle, Gold wrote, opened with the title track “Welcome Back, Kotter,” left the stage, then returned and performed it again in Spanish.
“For the rest of the set, they sputtered and sputtered their way through complicated rhythm and tempo changes, laying down funk rhythms or metal rhythms or ska rhythms only to abandon them a few seconds later for a complicated pause or a dissonant improvisation, or for a drum fill taken from Bell Biv DeVoe’s ‘Poison,’ or for a minute or so of Bugs Bunny-type jazz,” Gold wrote.
“Oh yeah… circus music. “There was a lot of circus music.”
Lengyel left the band in the mid-1990s and has not performed at their recent reunion shows.
Bungle and his record label, Ipecac Recordings, could not be reached for comment.