- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - A car believed to belong to a missing murder suspect from Sun City was found Tuesday evening in Peoria with a body inside, authorities said.

But Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials said they didn’t immediately know if the body is that of Howard Allen Rudolph, 79, who cut off his electronic monitoring ankle-bracelet ankle Sunday and didn’t appear for a court hearing Monday.

A warrant was issued for Rudolph, who was on house arrest in the shooting death of his 73-year-old wife last August in what was called a mercy killing.

Sheriff’s officials said a white 2006 Lincoln Town Car was found in the parking lot of an apartment complex and the license plate matches that of Rudolph’s vehicle.

TV video from the scene shows police crime tape around the parking lot near the vehicle.

Rudolph was arrested Aug. 7 and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Earlene Rudolph.

Sheriff’s officials cited statements made by Rudolph about his wife being ill and what he wrote in a note found with a revolver at the home.

“I had to do it,” Rudolph told deputies after his arrest, according to court paperwork.

Investigators believe Rudolph intended to kill himself after allegedly killing his wife of 13 years.

They said Rudolph had written a note to his attorney containing specific instructions on how “the bodies” should be cremated and how the couple’s home should be handled.

Deputies went to the couple’s house in the Phoenix-area retirement community after the Sheriff’s Office received a hang-up 911 call from the home.

They say Rudolph made incriminating statements after deputies found Earlene Rudolph dead in a bathroom with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds

Rudolph was released to the custody of his friends under electronic monitoring in February.

A county Superior Court judge issued a warrant for Rudolph’s arrest for violating the conditions of jail release, according to the court docket.

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