- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A man suspected in the North Carolina slayings of a mother and her three children killed himself and his girlfriend after a police chase in Utah that ended with his car in flames, authorities said Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office in Catawba County said the suspect killed himself after a high-speed chase on an interstate highway in southwest Utah late Tuesday.

Chief Deputy Coy Reid from Catawba County said officials with the Washington County, Utah, Sheriff’s Office said the man fatally shot his girlfriend, who was in the vehicle, then turned the gun on himself. Authorities have not identified the man or his girlfriend.

The suspect was wanted in last week’s killings of Lisa Saephan and her three children _ 20-year-old Melanie, 18-year-old Pauline and 4-year-old Cody _ at their home near Conover, about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte.

The vehicle was spotted in Utah after authorities in North Carolina became aware the suspect may have been in the state headed toward California. Washington County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop the vehicle around 11:20 p.m. and the vehicle hit another car, then drove up an embankment and stopped on a hillside.

The vehicle caught fire while deputies were approaching it. They pulled the man and woman from the vehicle and discovered they were already dead.

Reid said North Carolina officials had been preparing warrants against the man on charges in the slaying as well as a charge of conspiracy to sell drugs. He said he couldn’t elaborate on the charges.

Investigators armed with a search warrant went through the home where the family was killed and found a clear plastic bag containing a “suspected controlled substance.” They also took away cash, computers, cell phones, a knife and a pistol.

Officials have said Lisa Saephan’s husband and the children’s father, Brian Tzeo, was at work when his family was killed. Funerals are scheduled for Wednesday in nearby Newton.

Investigators found the victims after a friend of Pauline’s called 911 on Thursday morning, screaming and sobbing as she told the operator Pauline had just been pulled into her home and stabbed by a man. The friend had picked up Pauline for school that morning, but they went back after the friend said she had seen a suspicious man outside the house.

Tzeo has said he and his wife had separated and that he had an affair but they were still living together and trying to work things out.

He and his wife each reported in their separate bankruptcy filings that they owed tens of thousands of dollars in debts, according to court documents. He filed in July 2007, and the case was settled and closed that same November.

She filed in January of this year, still reporting the couple to be separated and listing her sole dependent as a 4-year-old son. Court filings in the case continued until the day she died.

The wife’s bankruptcy case refers to her as Lisa Phan, different from the name Lisa Saephan that authorities have used since her death.

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