The body of a man was found inside a burned out unit of Army housing in the 400 block of Brittany Road in Seaside the afternoon of March 7, the Presidio of Monterey announced in a press release on Friday, March 8.
Firefighters from the Presidio of Monterey Fire Department, with assistance from departments from the cities of Marina and Seaside, responded just after a call about a structure fire came in at 3:28pm on Thursday. The fire was reported extinguished by 3:40.
Crews discovered the body as they moved inside the unit to clear out debris. The man’s name is being withheld until a positive identification can be made and the next of kin notified, the release states.
At first the fire and the death were being investigated by special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation command and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but on Friday the Presidio announced that the Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotics Team, known as PRVNT, was taking over the investigation.
Made up of detectives from peninsula city police departments, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, and other local agencies, PRVNT investigates homicides, drug trafficking and other cases of violent crime, including cold cases.
On Friday afternoon, several investigators could be seen working near the home, part of a long line of connected units in the Marshall Park neighborhood of the Ord Military Community on the former Fort Ord. The home and a large grassy area around it were blocked off with yellow tape. The unit’s entrance and windows appeared blackened.
March 11 Update: Authorities arrested a suspect, Erik Bjorn Olson, 36, on Friday, March 8, according to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni. He was arrested and faces charges of homicide and arson of an inhabited dwelling.
Monterey County Jail records show Olson was booked on March 9 and was being held on $1.1 million bail.
Olson's address was given as the same address as the location of the fire in Seaside, Pacioni says.
Her office is in the process of filing charges. Olson was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, March 12, but a bomb scare at the county courthouse and administration center on March 11 may delay the timing of his hearing.
Officials are not naming the victim until they are certain the man's family has been contacted.
March 12 Update: Olson entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment in Monterey County Superior Court on Tuesday, March 12.
The victim was identified as Olson's uncle, 68-year-old Gregory Kolb, according to a PRVNT press release issued Tuesday. An autopsy performed on Friday determined Kolb's death was a homicide. ATF investigators processed the burned out home and decided the fire was arson.
Officials think Olson may have used a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft to leave the neighborhood after the fire to travel to Santa Cruz. From there he went to San Jose, where he was picked up by San Jose Police and arrested on Friday.
Editor's Note: This post was updated with new information from the District Attorney and the Monterey County Jail on March 11, and from Monterey County Superior Court and PRVNT on March 12.
An earlier version of this post said investigators could be seen outside the residence on Thursday, March 7. The correct date they were seen is Friday, March 8.