Crime - Sacto 911

Diamond Springs residents look for answers in New Year’s Eve attack

El Dorado County sheriff's deputies say that there were signs of forced entry at the home of a married couple in Diamond Springs where the husband was shot and his wife beaten.
El Dorado County sheriff's deputies say that there were signs of forced entry at the home of a married couple in Diamond Springs where the husband was shot and his wife beaten. video image

Down the road from the white-paneled house where a married Diamond Springs couple were brutalized by intruders in the middle of the night, neighbors keep a vigilant eye on who comes and who goes.

They can pick out who doesn’t belong, which cars look unfamiliar. When strangers come knocking, some pull shut their blinds, turn off the music, pretend they’re not home. Others confront anyone who seems out of place with questions: Who are you? What are you doing here?

As of Tuesday, deputies had not identified any suspects in the attack on 91-year-old Gerald Holderman and 80-year-old Faye Holderman, who told investigators that they were held hostage in their home since before midnight on New Year’s Eve. The husband had been shot, the wife severely beaten. When El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies arrived the next morning, Faye Holderman was lying on the living-room floor with a bloodied gash on her head.

After five days with no answers, the tension in the 500 block of Arlette Lane is palpable. Two residents spoke Monday to The Sacramento Bee but did not provide their names because they said they were afraid of possible retribution.

David Cooke, the pastor at Cold Springs Church, where the couple have attended services for about 20 years, said he and the community continue to pray for answers and resolution.

“These are gentle, wonderful people,” Cooke said. “It’s horrible to think that somebody – or some people – broke in in the middle of the night and did this to them.”

Cooke said the Holdermans believe there was more than one person involved.

A candlelight vigil honoring the couple was held at the Placerville church on Saturday. Several congregants have offered the Holderman family gift cards and meals to help with expenses while Gerald Holderman remains in the hospital.

Faye Holderman, who attended, appeared to be upbeat and in good spirits, Cooke said, despite the wound on her forehead and the wheelchair she used to navigate the event.

In a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office last week, the couple’s son, Gerald “Jerry” Holderman Jr., reported that his father had undergone surgery and was “looking better.”

Gerald Holderman is a former Marine who fought in World War II, according to his family. He flew off the USS Vella Gulf in combat as a gunner’s mate in the rear of a Douglas SBD dive bomber. At the end of the war in 1945, Gerald Holderman was in the first wave providing air cover for Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo Bay to accept Japan’s surrender, according to the statement released by the Sheriff’s Office.

The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week.

Sheriff’s detectives found signs of forced entry into the home, which sits near the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, bordered by a white picket fence. But the residence did not appear to be ransacked, according to a news release. Deputies declined to say whether anything had been stolen.

Anyone with information about the assault can contact Detective Ken Barber at (530) 642-4710 or Detective James Peterson at (530) 642-4713.

Call The Bee’s Marissa Lang at (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter at @Marissa_Jae.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee