4th suspect arrested in beating of Yakima real estate agent

4th suspect arrested in beating of Yakima real estate agent »Play Video
Vern Holbrook

UPDATE: Deputies arrested a fourth suspect in the beating of a Yakima real estate agent. Jill Taylor, 38, was booked Tuesday into Yakima County Jail. She's being held on first degree attempted murder charges. Taylor is scheduled to face a judge Wednesday.


YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Deputies made a third arrest Friday morning in the attempted murder of an elderly real estate agent. It was never clear why Vern Holbrook was attacked and left for dead in the spring. Now detectives believe a fourth person may be involved.

A hit on a local real estate agent might have cost just $10,000. Deputies say Daniel Blizzard paid that money to kill Vern Holbrook.

The elderly real estate agent was brutally beaten and his throat slashed. He's still alive, but he's not the Vern his family knew.

"We just want our dad back, we want our grandfather back, we want our friend, the piece of our family that matters the most," said Andrew Rockenfield, Holbrook's stepson.

When Vern was attacked, the Yakima County Sheriff's Office made quick work of arresting two people. They're blamed for carrying out the attack.

But it wasn't until months later deputies announced the real motive: money. Deputies say Blizzard and his brothers once bought Vern Holbrook's real estate company, but then quit making payments. Vern took his business back.

"It's something that he loved so much, it was his passion," Rockenfield said.

A fourth suspect in the attack may explain why Vern became a target in the first place.

Court documents say Jill Taylor was once Vern's daughter in law. She had been cut off financially and records say -- she held a grudge against Vern.

Court papers say Taylor even tried to get a friend to poison the elderly man, saying she'd tried to do it herself but failed. When Taylor began dating Daniel Blizzard, deputies think the plan to kill Vern Holbrook got more intense. Blizzard and his brothers took out a $1.5 million life insurance policy on Vern. While they quit making payments on the business, they kept making payments on the policy. Investigators think this led to the savage attack on Vern back in May.

Even at 78 years old, he had been a thriving and active real estate agent. At least up until the day he was found bloodied and beaten in a Cowiche home he had shown to prospective buyers. 

"When he does speak, which is very seldom, he's more concerned about his safety. He keeps talking about the attack," Rockenfield said.

A complicated case that has left multiple people accused of attempted murder. Jill Taylor has not been arrested.

Deputies did not return our calls asking for an update on the investigation into Taylor.

Cell phone records helped connect 38-year-old Luis Gomez-Monges and 23-year-old Adriana Mendez to the crime. They face attempted murder charges.

Deputies say they texted Blizzard using code words to indicate the job was done.