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Ernie Scherer. (CONTRA COSTA TIMES/DOUG DURAN)

Alameda County sheriff's investigators are sifting through lives of the Pleasanton couple found dead nearly six weeks ago at Castlewood Country Club to find the person who savagely killed them.

"We are confident that eventually we will make an arrest in this case. However, due to the complexity of the victims it has been a longer process than we anticipated," sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek said.

Ernie Scherer, 60 and Charlene Abendroth, 57 were found dead March 14. An employee of the Castlewood Country Club, where the couple lived, was sent to check on the couple's house on Castlewood Drive after their worried daughter in Utah couldn't reach them.

The couple, married for 31 years, was severely beaten, but the exact cause of death has not been released.

Every resource that has been available to investigators has been used, Dudek said, calling the case a complicated one with many players. Dudek said most family members have been helpful during the investigation.

Scherer was a real estate investor who dabbled in professional poker. He was active in the state Republican Party and was a former San Ramon Valley school board trustee who was recalled in 1990. He had a long and tumultuous history with the San Ramon Valley school district, but investigators have ruled out anyone affiliated with the district as potential suspects.

They are, however, still looking into disgruntled students of Abendroth, who taught accounting at California State University, East Bay, as well as Scherer's connection to the poker world.

Investigators have executed search warrants in Northern and Southern California, Nevada and Utah. They have also seized a red 2001 Chevrolet Camaro convertible that belongs to the couple's son, 29-year-old Ernest Scherer III, a professional poker player.

Investigators asked Castlewood residents in March if they had seen a red 2001 Chevy Camaro convertible March 7 or 8 in the neighborhood, about the time they believe Scherer and Abendroth were killed.

Investigators searched the son's home in Brea in March.

"These steps we are taking are an attempt to eliminate him as being involved," Dudek said. "I do not want to discuss any of the searches."

Scherer III's wife and son have since moved from the house, neighbors there said.

At a Las Vegas tournament this week, some players familiar with Scherer III said they are aware of the ongoing homicide investigation and have read about the case online.

"I haven't seen him in a while," said Derek Harrington of Henderson, Nev., who had played poker with Scherer III a few times. He said he did not know the younger Scherer that well.

Reach Sophia Kazmi at skazmi@bayareanewsgroup.com or 925-847-2122.