- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

From combined dispatches

LOS ANGELES — Police were investigating a suspected murder-suicide yesterday after the bodies of three adults and three children were found at a sprawling ranch.

Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle told reporters that all of the victims apparently died of gunshot wounds to the head.

With the exception of the ranch owner, David McGowan, they were all found in their beds.

?The beds were undisturbed,? Sheriff Doyle said, adding that a handgun was found close to the body of Mr. McGowan, an investigator for the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

?There was no sign of a struggle or a domestic violence situation,? Sheriff Doyle said. ?This community is in no danger. We are not at this time looking for a suspect.?

Police sources told Reuters that the other victims were thought to be Mr. McGowan’s wife, mother-in-law, two daughters ages 8 and 10, and 14-year-old son.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the ranch after receiving an emergency 911 call at 4:33 a.m. from inside the home. Nobody spoke, but dispatchers heard the phone being thrown against the wall, followed by a gunshot.

Sheriff Doyle said the phone was found close to Mr. McGowan’s body. He also said there was no indication of a break-in and no calls from any neighbors in the area.

The remote, mountainous area about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles is well-known for its horse ranches, nestled among rolling meadows and tall pines.

Public records show David and Karen McGowan bought the 4.5-acre property and 3,331-square-foot ranch house for $425,000 in 2000.

Mr. McGowan was a detective at the Cathedral City Police Department before joining the district attorney’s office, said Pat Whittle, an accounts manager for the Garner Valley Homeowner’s Association who has known Mr. McGowan for 10 years.

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