Female identified in suspected murder-suicide | SierraSun.com

Female identified in suspected murder-suicide

Authorities identified the Truckee-area woman who was found dead Dec. 19 inside an SUV north of Truckee as 34-year-old Cristin Joyce Keleher.

Keleher’s parents were informed Friday in Long Branch, N.J., of her death. She was identified by fingerprints on file.

Keleher’s body and the body of Stanley Everett Merchant, 48, also of the Truckee area, were found inside a blood-spattered SUV parked along Old Highway 89, after authorities received an anonymous tip from a hiker who reported the suspicious parked vehicle. An autopsy completed Dec. 21 determined the cause of Keleher’s death was a gunshot wound to the head.

While the incident is still under investigation, authorities said evidence indicates Keleher was shot outside the vehicle, then was placed inside the SUV, which was then driven about 100 yards. Sheriff’s investigators believe Merchant then lay down beside the body of Keleher and shot himself, also in the head. Two 12-gauge shotguns were found inside the vehicle next to Merchant’s body.

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