A man and woman found dead inside a sprawling San Juan Capistrano house were identified by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on Monday as once-married entrepreneurs who headed up several embattled companies.
No suspects have been identified in the deaths of Bradford Hans Sachs, 57, and Andra Resa Sachs, 54, a couple with five children who filed for divorce 14 years ago but continued to live and conduct business together. Their 8-year-old son was found seriously injured inside the home but was expected to survive.
Few details have emerged about what happened at the house on Peppertree Bend just before 2 a.m. Sunday, when someone inside called 911. No arrests had been made, and investigators with the Sheriff’s Department asked the public for any information connected to the crime.
Detectives believe the double homicide was an isolated incident but are investigating whether it was a random attack or a targeted killing, Lt. Jeff Hallock said.
Investigators are looking into the couple’s past, their slew of business and property dealings, and a flurry of lawsuits dating to the 1990s. Those include a complicated 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case involving a now-defunct dot-com business that family members say earned the couple millions.
Court records show Brad and Andra Sachs had been married but filed for divorce in 1999. Despite the legal split, the two continued to work together, and neighbors said they shared the 8,874-square-foot house valued at $3.8 million.
The couple was dogged by a series of court disputes including a lawsuit against their Plug In Solutions company by a woman who said she paid nearly $11,000 for a power conversion kit that functioned for six months before causing her car battery to leak a “toxic smell,” according to the Orange County Superior Court claim.
Brad Sachs told the woman he’d fixed the problem, but the kit later ignited and burned her 2009 Toyota Prius, according to the lawsuit, which was settled outside of court.
The Sachses founded an Internet service provider called Flashcom in the late 1990s. A decadelong court dispute stems from a $9 million transfer that company officials made while trying to remove Andra Sachs from the board of directors, according to court documents.
“I just know that they had the ability to make money,” said Sachs’ father, Hal Sachs, in a phone interview from his home in Lebanon, Mo. “It seems like they would go someplace and look up something and say, ‘Oh, this is a nice place to buy property,’ and the next thing I would know, they’re talking about the property they bought in Maui or wherever.”
Sachs said he last spoke to his son last week, on Brad’s 57th birthday. Nothing seemed amiss. He said Andra got Brad a bicycle that could catch waves on the water, “and he was stoked.”
The couple obtained a business license in 2009 for a property management company called Ashby Enterprises. The company has been the target of lawsuits, including an ongoing breach-of-contract case filed by a disgruntled tenant in 2011.
They also opened an electric-car facility in San Juan Capistrano called Jungle Motors. They continued to own the building there, which is the target of a Superior Court lawsuit that says the couple failed to repair the roof, which is alleged to have led to Mill Enterprises’ office being destroyed in a rainstorm in December 2010.
Joshua Engle, an Anaheim lawyer representing Mill Enterprises, declined to comment when reached Monday.
Chris Knuth opened Star Motors in the building in 2011. He said he saw the Sachses regularly and described them Monday as a normal couple who supported his business and celebrated his success.
“They seemed like everybody else,” he said. He learned of their deaths over the weekend.
“It’s very scary,” Knuth said.
Hal Sachs said the couple had two sons in college and two girls, in addition to the 8-year-old boy.
BY MEGHANN CUNIFF AND SALVADOR HERNANDEZ / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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