Houses not a part of preservation plan

February 10, 2010 

Once considered for demolition, the two houses where Rex Krebs committed his crimes still stand, tragic reminders of what happened in rural Avila 10 years ago.

The property, located on Davis Canyon Road, was purchased from owner Muriel Wright by The Nature Conservancy in the summer of 2001.

The conservancy typically buys key open space property so it can later offer it to the state when funds are available, said Josette Olivera, media relations manager for the conservancy. The organization purchased several thousand acres of the Irish Hills area.

The conservancy transferred the land to the state last August, but the state was not interested in the 130 acres that include the crime scenes.

Nick Franco, superintendent of the San Luis Obispo Coast District of state parks, said the state didn't want the structures, which includes a third home -- the house where Wright lived.

"That becomes a pretty big expense for us," he said.

If the state had accepted the extra land, he said, the structures would probably have been demolished.

Since the purchase, the conservancy has fixed up one of the houses -- a formerly unfinished A-frame -- and stripped the home where Krebs lived.

"They're in pretty good condition now," Franco said.

Rachel Newhouse was murdered in the A-frame. Aundria Crawford was murdered at the residence where Krebs lived. Both victims were buried not far from the crime scenes.

The conservancy has not yet decided what to do with the property, Olivera said.

"We're trying to assess that situation," she said.

A caretaker currently lives in the A-frame.

With the land from the Nature Conservancy, the state eventually hopes to build 20 miles of trails from Avila Beach to Montaña de Oro State Park.

-- Patrick S. Pemberton

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