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Murdered woman identified, granddaughter released

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the great-grandmother murdered in her Fallbrook apartment four weeks ago as 74-year-old Shirley Beggs.

Acquaintances say Beggs had moved to Fallbrook less than six months ago from Simi Valley.

Beggs, whose body was found by Sheriff’s deputies in the early morning hours of September 4, was determined to have been strangled to death roughly six days before, on August 29.

Authorities arrested Beggs’ granddaughter, Amy Jo Mitchell, 32, on September 4 for financial abuse of an elder but released her within three days, as she had not yet been charged with a crime.

“We can only keep an individual in custody for three days without charging them and then we have to release them,” said Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe. “This case, involving murder and elder theft, is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit. We are waiting to see what, if any, charges come out of this case.”

After Beggs’ body was discovered, Mitchell’s longtime boyfriend and father of her children, Jeff Nolen, 38, evaded officers and was found dead two days later inside his vehicle in Riverside County.

While the Riverside County Coroner’s Office has not officially released the exact cause of Nolen’s death, San Diego County authorities say it appears to have been suicide and no foul play was suspected.

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