Family searches for answers one year after Contra Costa County murder


On Oct. 6, 2017, a 37-year-old Danville woman was found dead at her uncle’s farmhouse in the Byron area of unincorporated Contra Costa County, and the family has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

Emily Courchesne was dead on arrival when sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a home in the 24000 block of Marsh Creek Road for a medical call just after 10 a.m. that Friday morning.

Investigators later reported that she had been shot to death sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning, and those are some of the only details they’ve released to the public.

“I don’t know any more now than the day it happened,” Emily’s mother, Marj Courchesne, said during an interview this afternoon.

The sheriff’s office may have more information but they aren’t sharing it with her, she said.

She describes Emily as a talented, generous and funny woman with a degree in physics, who liked to help her nephew with his homework and had helped friends get back into college. At the time of her killing, she was working for a structural drafting company in Orinda.

“It’s hard to get over this when you don’t know what happened,” Marj said. “It’s just this huge open wound with question marks all around it.”

When asked what it would mean for the family to find out why Emily was killed, the first thing that came to mind was closure. But it would also get the killer off the streets, Marj said.

“Maybe someone wasn’t willing to come forth last year and they’ve had a change of heart,” Marj said. “We do think somebody knows something.”

Emily was never in any trouble, according to Marj. It’s still a mystery why anyone would harm her.

“Please come forward,” Marj said. “The family misses her horribly.”

Anyone with information relevant to the case is asked to contact investigators with the sheriff’s office at (925) 313-2600. Anonymous tips can be called in at (925) 313-1166 or (866) 846-3592.

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