Orange County woman dies months after ex-husband makes seemingly credible threat against her

Robert J Hansen
Terra Schlinger on March 8, 2019.Photo by(Danielle Ruther)

By Robert J Hansen / Newsbreak, Sacramento

(Orange County, Calif.) A 37-year-old woman was found dead in her San Juan Capistrano home early morning last November 27 a week before her high-profile divorce hearing, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a Sheriff’s spokesperson, Terra Schlinger was found by her boyfriend around 4:35 a.m. when he woke up after they had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room.

There was no clear cause of death nor was anything suspicious found at the scene, according to the Sheriff’s spokesperson.

Terra had no known medical issues and the incident is currently being investigated by the Orange County Coroner's Office.

She was in the process of divorcing Greg Schlinger, who comes from a wealthy family, and was due in court on December 6 for a hearing, court records show.

Terra filed a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Mr. Schlinger on September 19, 2022, based on foul language and a credible threat he made against Terra and her mother in a recorded conversation the couple had.

Orange County Judge Lee Gabriel denied Terra the restraining order and allowed Mr. Schlinger to retain custody of the two minor children.

The full recording can be heard here.

“She's dead and soon so will you,” Mr. Schlinger said in the recording. “So it doesn’t f*****g matter.”

“Why do you want me to be dead to our kids,” Terra said.

Terra called to talk to her children who sounded pleased to talk to her once given the chance. 

Mr. Schlinger told Terra and her mother that the two children did not want to speak to their mother earlier in the conversation.

In Terra’s September restraining order request, she claims Mr. Schlinger took the opportunity to degrade, humiliate and insult her and her mother with the children in hearing range, fully aware that this court's orders have left him “holding all the cards” regarding their children.

She added that Mr. Schlinger has never missed an opportunity to use this control to emotionally abuse and torture her and her mother regularly and routinely.

“His abusive commentary over the course of time has left me scared, fearful and questioning whether I will ever communicate with or see my children again under any circumstance,” Terra said.

The court ordered that the children shall have nightly FaceTime, Zoom or Skype visits with their mother on her non-custodial days with the minor children between 6:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. and the father must make the minor children available.

The family court judge in the case never notified the Orange County District Attorney’s office of the credible threat against Terra and her mother.
Revenues for the Schlinger Family Foundation for 2020 according to ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer.Photo by(ProPublica)

Terra and Mr. Schlinger, a Vice President of the Schlinger Family Foundation, married in 2017 and filed for divorce in 2019, according to court records.

At an October 3, 2022 hearing, the court made orders for the sale of the real property located in San Juan Capistrano which was purchased in November 2017 by First Foundation Trust for $3.7M.

Kathleen Brown, Mr. Schlinger’s attorney, submitted an emergency order on November 16, 2022, in which Brown requested that Terra be removed from the $3.7M home to expedite the sale so attorney fees and costs in the amount of $100,000 could be taken out of Terra’s portion of the proceeds of the sale of the house.

Brown is the sister of former California Governor Jerry Brown.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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