They said it was a suicide.
Shortly after arriving at the home of victim Valerie Rita Mittelman in June 2010, El Dorado County sheriff’s officers knew things weren’t right and an investigation began that ended with Steven Howard Mittelman’s first-degree murder conviction earlier this year.
Wednesday, the five key players in the investigation — deputy Steven Fulton, deputy Simon Brown, Det. Ken Barber, Det. Mike Lensing and Det. Paul Hadjes — were named the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills’ Officers of the Year.
“These guys are the cream of the crop,” said Det. Sgt. Tom Hoagland at the breakfast event.
Fulton’s keen perception, Barber’s analysis of the evidence versus witness statements and Simon’s careful collection of forensic evidence, along with Lensing and Hadjes’ great interrogation, led to the successful conviction, Hoagland explained.
Sheriff John D’Agostini said he couldn’t say enough about the five men, four of whom were able to attend, adding that he thinks all his officers and staff are “the best of the best in the nation.”
The Officers of the Year were joined by coworkers and family at the Rotary event, where Rotary Club President Jeff England said thanks to their work and dedication, “We go to bed feeling safe.”