Murder-suicide likely in Hobart Mills deaths |

Murder-suicide likely in Hobart Mills deaths

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunNevada County sheriff's Lt. Ron Smith studies the crme scene Wednesday afternoon where a woman was reportedly killed on Old Highway 89 off Hobart Mills Road near Truckee. A male was also found shot to death. Murder-suicide is suspected.

The slaying of a man and a woman found lying together in the back of an SUV near Truckee with gunshot wounds was most likely a murder-suicide, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.

“It appears, based on the physical evidence, that he shot her, dragged her, put her in the car, then shot himself,” Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said.

A large amount of blood was found on the ground about 100 yards away from the SUV, Royal said, where investigators believe the woman was shot.

Royal said evidence indicates the man placed the woman in the back of the vehicle and drove a short distance, lying down next to her and then killing himself.

The 48-year-old man was a known transient in the Truckee area who lived in the SUV, while the woman, who was in her 30s, appeared to have been prepared for a trip.

“She had bags in the car, including a backpack and a suitcase,” Nevada County sheriff’s Lt. Ron Smith said Wednesday. “We found an ID inside a purse, so we’re pretty sure who she is.”

The SUV was parked off of Hobart Mills Road on Old Highway 89, north of Truckee. It was found by a man hiking in the area, Royal said.

Both bodies have gunshot wounds to the head, he said, so an Auburn pathologist who has a contract with the sheriff’s office will use fingerprints for a definitive identification within the next few days.

Smith said two 12-gauge shotguns were found between the man’s legs, the butts of the guns by his feet and the barrels by his head.

He said he most likely used both guns to kill himself.

Investigators do not know the relationship between the man and the woman, just that the man owned the SUV and the woman may have also been a transient.

Investigators will not notify the family of the woman whose ID they found before they are certain of her identity.

Sheriff’s office officials have not yet located the man’s family for notification, Smith said, so his identity is not releasable.

The area where the bodies were found is a popular place for recreational shooting, Smith said. Bullet casings littered the area, so deputies had to gather them all for investigative purposes.

An intact casing for a 12-gauge shotgun was found by the vehicle, along with a pair of glasses.

The man who reportedly found the bodies used a pay phone in Truckee to call in an anonymous tip at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“He said he was celebrating Christmas and he didn’t want to get involved,” Smith said. Investigators have saved a recording of the phone call, Smith said.

Because the area was cold and getting dark Tuesday evening, a deputy was stationed near the SUV to guard the crime scene until Wednesday morning when investigators began processing the scene, which involved thawing out the frozen bodies.

“It was about 17 degrees up there,” Royal said Wednesday. Smith said the entire crime scene was under a blanket of snow.

Autopsies may not be performed until Friday, Smith said, because of the pathologist’s large workload.

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