Murder charges filed in campground death of 9-year-old girl |

Murder charges filed in campground death of 9-year-old girl

Gregory Crofton

The death last week of a 9-year-old girl from Lakewood, Wash., resulted in murder charges Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe against the girl’s mother and a 35-year-old man.

Lisa Ann Platz, 32, and James Csucsai are each charged with murder with special circumstances that include kidnapping and use of a knife. The maximum punishment upon conviction could be death or life without parole; prosecutors have not yet disclosed whether they intend to seek the death penalty.

Platz and Csucsai were expected to be arraigned on the murder charges Tuesday in El Dorado County Superior Court, but visiting Judge Richard Haugner approved a request by defense lawyers to postpone the hearing until Oct. 25 to analyze evidence.

Platz and Csucsai also return to court Oct. 4 for a hearing on a Washington kidnapping warrant issued after Rebbeca Aramburo was taken at gunpoint Aug. 13 from a relative’s home in Lakewood. Rebbeca was found dead Friday morning when officers entered a tent at Campground by the Lake at the conclusion of a nine-hour standoff.

Local police began tracking Platz and Csucsai Thursday night once they got word that an FBI fugitive watch was out for a1995 Nissan Maxima en route to South Lake Tahoe. Officers located the car next to a tent at the campground about 1 a.m.

They made verbal contact with Csucsai and Platz from outside the tent, but Csucsai told officers he had a gun and at one point said he would not be taken alive. According to a police narrative, when officers heard Csucsai say he was losing consciousness, they rushed inside and found a pool of blood, “several” bloody knives and the girl’s body with two neck lacerations.

Platz and Csucsai both had cut wrists, according to police, while Csucsai’s throat was also slashed. Both were treated and released from Barton Memorial Hospital and remain in El Dorado County jail without bail.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.