Victim in Solana Beach death ID’d as Butterfly Farms co-founder

North Coast Current

Management and supporters of Butterfly Farms in Encinitas are mourning the death of co-founder Tom Merriman, who authorities identified as the victim in a suspicious death in Solana Beach on Jan. 1.

“We lost a dear friend and member of our business family this past weekend, and our hearts mourn the loss,” Butterfly Farms management stated in a Facebook post. “Tom was an integral and passionate part of Butterfly Farms, and his presence will be greatly missed. Please share your love with his family and his Butterfly Farms family now and always.”

Butterfly Farms noted on Facebook that it was closed for the day Jan. 5. Visitors and supporters of the nonprofit expressed an outpouring of support on its page.

The confirmation was made by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office on Jan. 3. The county Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation.

Deputies entered a home in the 100 block of Nardo Avenue in Solana Beach on Jan. 1 on a search warrant after what was initially a welfare check, according to a Sheriff’s Department report. They found Merriman, 64, dead in the residence.

Authorities then made an arrest in the death. Jade Sasha Janks, 37, who authorities stated was a resident of the home, was arrested on suspicion of murder and booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

The Sheriff’s Department seeks information from the community as its investigation continues. Calls can be made to the sheriff’s Homicide Unit at 858-285-6330 or 858-565-5200 after hours. Callers can remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Butterfly Farms was founded in 2013 by Pat Flanagan and Merriman as a way to promote the conservation of native butterflies and other pollinators, the organization states on its Facebook page.

Merriman’s death is a double hit to Butterfly Farms, local media outlets report.

Sabrina Lukosky, who worked with the nonprofit, was killed in October 2019. Authorities charged her boyfriend in her death.

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