3 drifters held in killing of California tantra yoga teacher


SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — GPS technology helped law officers track down three suspects in the killing of a tantra yoga teacher, who was found shot to death on a scenic California hiking trail.

The three drifters were arrested Wednesday in Oregon, two days after the body of Steve Carter, 67, who had been walking his dog on the trail in upscale Marin County, where he was living and caring for his cancer-stricken wife Lokita Carter.  

Two men and a woman were taken into custody outside a community dining hall in Portland after Carter’s 2003 Volkwagen was tracked using GPS technology, Marin County sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman said. Authorities identified them as Sean Michael Angold, 24, Morrison Haze Lampley, 23, and Lila Scott Allgood, 18.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said none of the suspects has a known permanent address. Pittman said the trio was tracked to Portland — more than 600 miles to the north — by detectives using GPS technology in Carter’s car and dozens of tips from people who thought they looked suspicious.

Authorities were also aided by surveillance footage from a gas station in Point Reyes that showed the suspects with the stolen car about a half-hour after the slaying, Pittman said. “So many people are in possession of cameras in cars, homes, businesses,” he said. “Those types of systems became crucial to the pursuit and apprehension.”

Mark Reano, owner of Greenbridge Gas & Auto in Point Reyes, said authorities came to the station early Wednesday for the video. “They grabbed it and went,” said Reano, who did not see the suspects. Authorities have not provided a motive for the attack and said it did not appear the suspects knew the victim. Pittman said it was unclear if Carter might have been targeted for his car or other belongings.

Detectives believe Carter drove to the trail near Fairfax in his car Monday evening. Another hiker found his body at about 6 p.m. Followers credited Carter with improving their romantic relationships by teaching tantra, a philosophy of meditation, yoga and sexuality famously embraced by rock star Sting.

Stunned students and supporters mourned their beloved teacher who was shot multiple times and was still holding the leash of his wounded Doberman pinscher when he was found. The dog is expected to recover.

The Carters launched the Ecstatic Living Institute in rural Middletown, California, about 16 years ago to teach tantra to couples around the world. They held workshops nearby at the clothing-optional Harbin Hot Springs, which was destroyed last month in a wildfire.

“He was my mentor,” said Greg Whitmore, 37, a firefighter who attended several weeklong retreats led by the Carters. “It was intoxicating. People wanted to be around him.” Last year, the couple turned the institute over to a former student, Logan Rose, and moved to Costa Rica in semi-retirement, teaching an occasional class. But soon after moving, Lokita was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It has been a very traumatic season for us with Lokita’s cancer, then the Valley Fire that destroyed our beloved Harbin Hot Springs,” Rose said. “This is the most devastating blow,” Rose said of the homicide. “We are heartbroken.”

Lokita Carter didn’t respond to requests for comment. Joya Petra Gallasch said Carter was responsible for adding her new first name during a training session at Harbin Hot Springs. She was depressed at the time and Carter led her to adopt the new first name of Joya, Gallasch said.

“I’ve always been a super joyous person,” Gallasch said. “He knew intuitively that it was time to get a new name. He exuded a form of brilliance.” A hiker found Carter’s body less than an hour after deputies responded to a report of shots fired and didn’t see anything suspicious.

Carter’s brother, Michael Carter, said he knew of no one who disliked his brother. “I can’t imagine that it’s anything other than a random thing,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “All of it seems very random and unbelievable. Nothing makes any sense.”


5 thoughts on “3 drifters held in killing of California tantra yoga teacher

  1. I wish they’d be more specific about the “GPS technology.” GPS navigation systems don’t work by broadcasting; they work by receiving the GPS satellite signals.

    If a navigation system is capable of broadcasting (generally to cellular towers), that’s an additonal capability that CAN be used to track someone. Maybe the victim’s car had an anti-theft device installed. Another possibility is that the dealer from whom the car was purchased had installed a GPS tracker. Some dealers do this so they can send the repo man after you if you don’t keep up your car payments.

  2. “Pittman said the trio was tracked to Portland — more than 600 miles to the north — by detectives using GPS technology in Carter’s car and dozens of tips from people who thought they looked suspicious.”

    Idiots (not that I’m not glad they got caught, just making a point).

    The obvious thing to do would have been to head SOUTH, to L.A.

    Almost everyone looks suspicious there.

  3. How many “suspicious looking characters” have you seen today. I don’t see “Dead People” but “suspicious looking characters” are as plentiful as those guns “Behind every blade of grass.” No one is beyond suspicion so we vote in the least corrupt, or so we think. Truth be told, they all should be hung for treason and the evidence is before us all. So hike up your skirts Sallys, we got some unfinished business.


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