Who is Theo Lengyel? All you need to know as Founding Mr. Bungle member gets arrested on murder charges 

Theo Lengyel is a former member of the band Mr. Bungle. (Image via Reddit/r/Music)
Theo Lengyel is a former member of the band Mr. Bungle. (Image via Reddit/r/Music)

On January 3, Theo Lengyel, the founding member of the 1980 experimental band Mr. Bungle was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of his missing girlfriend Alice “Alyx” Kamakaokalani Herrman.

After exactly one month of being missing on December 3, 2023, the 61-year-old victim's body was discovered in a Berkeley, California, wood. She vanished suddenly on December 12 and the Capitola Police Department was looking into it. According to the New York Post, they feared "foul play was involved."

While the police did not disclose the possible motive behind the murder, they took Theo Lengyel into custody as they found Hermann’s car in front of his residence, situated five miles north of Berkeley. Previously, he refused to cooperate with law enforcement when identified as a person of interest.

Exploring the life and career of Theo Lengyel

The 54-year-old Theo Lengyel originally goes as Theobald Brooks Lengyel and is an American musician. He is the founding member of the Bay Area-based rock band Mr. Bungle and was its frontman and alto saxophonist until 1999.

Apart from playing the saxophone, Lengyel also played clarinet and keyboard for the band. Also called Mylo Stone, Lengyel founded Mr. Bungle along with vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance, and bassist Trevor Dunn when they were all together in high school in the mid-1980s.

While the other members still continued to play in the jazz metal band, Theo left it in 1996 after an irresolvable fallout with his bandmates. During a 2005 Q&A session on his website, Trevor Dunn reportedly told them they “unanimously decided to go on without him [Lengyel] because he wasn’t growing with the rest of the band.”

He also added how they were “running out of things for him to do.” When the band communicated the same to him, Theo allegedly got angry and never looked back.

During his time with Mr. Bungle, he was part of their first two major albums, Mr. Bungle (1991) and Disco Volante (1995).

In brief, looking at Theo Lengyel's recent arrest

On Wednesday, exactly after a month Pacific Islander Alice “Alyx” Kamakaokalani Herrman missed her flight to Hawaii and disappeared without any traces, her remains were found in Tilden Regional Park, a woody area in Berkeley. Ever since her family reported her missing, her boyfriend Theo Lengyel was identified as a person of interest.

Meanwhile, Lengyel traveled over 600 miles from his home in El Cerrito, California, to Portland, Oregon in the past month. Around this time, investigators found the victim’s car, a red 2007 Toyota Highlander SUV in front of his house, as per Kron4.

Following this discovery, Theo Lengyel was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and is currently being detained at the Santa Cruz County Jail without the chance of bail. Besides the murder charge, he is also facing felony burglary and grand theft auto charges.

It is noteworthy that Lengyel was previously accused of domestic abuse by his former wife in 2017, as per KRCR. She even got a restraining order against him. Later that year, they filed for divorce.

So far, how and where Hermann was murdered remains undisclosed. The motive too is unclear. However, the human remains were sent for DNA confirmation to the Contra County Coroner’s Office on Wednesday.

Edited by Divya Singh