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Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash

Murdered Los Gatos restaurateur's Mark Achilli's widow was woman found burned inside a Volkswagen Beetle early Tuesday morning on Highway 9 in Saratoga.

Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed this morning that

A medical examiner at the office this morning said Achilli, 54, of Santa Cruz, is the deceased Jane Doe that Cal Fire and CHP investigators found at the scene of the grisly accident that was reported shortly after 12:23 a.m. Tuesday.

Mark Achilli, 53, was killed March 14, 2008, when he was shot eight times in the driveway of his Overlook Road townhouse in Los Gatos. Michele Achilli was left to care for her three children alone, living with the pain of the horrific tragedy.

Longtime friend Chuck Cucco declined comment on the tragic death, but acknowledged knowing about it.

Similarly, employees at who were longtime friends of the Achilli family, declined comment.

A bartender at , who described Mark Achilli as a dear friend, said he was shocked and upset about the death and declined to give his name.

, said he was shocked and saddened by the reports of Michele Achilli's death.

"She showed remarkable courage and grace during the tragic events surrounding her husband's murder and will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, especially her daughter, Alexandra. We are hopeful the family's privacy will be respected during this difficult time," Fletcher said.

A close friend of Michele, who declined to be identified, said the news has devastated the family, especially the children. She added that a memorial service is already being planned, but will be private for just close friends and family.

Achilli owned the popular downtown Los Gatos nightspot Mountain Charley's saloon and the adjacent 180 Restaurant until 2007, when he sold them to Garcia.

The Volkswagen Beetle and her body were discovered after Cal Fire responded to a report of a brush fire off the road of Highway 9. After fighting the blaze, officials found the vehicle and the remains, said CHP spokesman John Darling.

"Everything is still under investigation," Darling said Tuesday morning about the crash, adding that preliminary reports indicate the vehicle was traveling at a speed too great for the driver to negotiate a turn, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway, where it caught fire as it impacted an object, killing the driver.

Michele Achilli's car was 50 feet off the roadway and 125 feet down the embankment, which made recovery difficult, Darling said.

The medical examiner said it would take several weeks to complete a full autopsy report, which will be made available to the public.

This story is developing and Los Gatos Patch will be updating it as more information becomes available.

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