Eva Crist had done up her hair and makeup, as she took pride in doing. Then she headed to the Oasis Bar on Plumas Street on a Monday night in 1986. She knew the owners, loved to dance and was expecting a fun night.
What she didn’t expect was running into her abusive, estranged boyfriend, Efren Calderas Meza, who told her he would “cut her up” for dancing with someone else – and that’s exactly what he did.
When Yuba City police arrived for reports of a fight, Crist was found in the back doorway covered in blood. She had been stabbed multiple times in her back and front, one slash piercing her heart and another opening her entire arm, according to Appeal-Democrat archives. Crist, 32, was still alive when police found her, but died once she arrived at Rideout Memorial Hospital.
Dec. 8 will mark the 32nd anniversary of her death – the Oasis closed long ago, and though police know who is responsible for her murder, they are no closer to catching him. Meza left the area soon after, going to Crist’s apartment right after he killed her – her daughters still sleeping – to grab some things before fleeing.
He may now go by different aliases, like Mesa instead of Meza, and he could be anywhere from Fresno to Texas to Mexico.
Detective Sgt. Steve Thornton is still investigating the cold case, making phone calls and trying to follow Meza’s trail. A warrant for his arrest was issued two months after the murder.
“We’re still hoping someone can help lead us to his arrest,” Thornton said Thursday.
Crist’s daughters, Honey Main, 47, and Christina Gordon, 41, learned more about what had happened as the years passed, and after meetings with investigators. Main was 15 when her mother was killed; Gordon was 9.
But there’s still a lot they don’t know. Where could Meza be? Who are his family and friends? Where might they be?
“We’re hoping for anything, we’re hoping for justice,” Main said Friday. “It’s sad, it’s very frustrating.”
Main and Gordon almost gave up hope of Meza being caught and brought to justice, but a conversation with a friend gave the sisters a push. Main connected with Heidi Jones Asay on Facebook. Asay shared she had been 4 years old when her own mother was murdered in their home. And just last year, the killer was arrested and sentenced – 46 years after the murder.
So the sisters created a Facebook page – Justice for Eva Crist – in the hope that sharing old photos and being active online will spark a helpful tip.
“We did feel like giving up and it was hard to keep going,” Main said, “After Heidi reached out to us, that’s when we made it a point to keep going.”
If Crist were still alive, she would have five grandchildren in her life today. There were plenty of witnesses at the bar the night she was murdered who saw Meza attacking Crist. All investigators need is a tip pointing to his current location.
“Please come forward, somebody has to know something,” Main said.
Anyone who may have information on Meza’s current whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Yuba City Police Department at 822-4660 or the anonymous tip line at 822-2026. Readers can also leave a tip anonymously online at: https://tinyurl.com/y8pvhkx2.