A 35-year-old Vallejo man who told police an unusual story of his wife's death while the couple were stranded on a personal watercraft in the middle of San Pablo Bay (search) has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.

Corbin Easterling was held without bail Friday in the Sonoma County (search) jail in Santa Rosa. An arraignment was set for Monday.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Freitas said an autopsy of Jennifer Easterling, 35, revealed evidence of an assault.

The woman's father, Richard Jevarian of Sonoma, said he received a cell phone call from the couple Monday night saying their WaveRunner (search) personal watercraft was stuck in mud on San Pablo Bay.

The Coast Guard found Corbin Easterling and the body of his wife at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, just hours after the woman's father called to report them missing.

Jevarian said he didn't call authorities immediately because he didn't think the pair were in real danger.

Corbin Easterling later told The San Francisco Chronicle the craft caught fire and capsized after they broke it free from the mud in the middle of the night.

Easterling said he then packed his wife's life vest with mud to keep her warm and held her as temperatures dropped. He said when he awoke in the morning, his wife was dead.

Police searched the couple's Vallejo trailer Wednesday and on Thursday began surveillance of Easterling. He was arrested later that night.

Freitas declined to comment on a motive, saying Easterling "exercised his right to remain silent."

The couple, married seven months, have a 1-year-old child, authorities said.