Report: Parents may have planned family murder-suicide together - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Report: Parents may have planned family murder-suicide together

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Officials walk towards the house where four people were found dead carrying empty boxes Tuesday, May 24, 2011. Officials walk towards the house where four people were found dead carrying empty boxes Tuesday, May 24, 2011.
An official leaves the house where four people were found dead Tuesday. An official leaves the house where four people were found dead Tuesday.
Alfredo and Georgina Pimienta Alfredo and Georgina Pimienta
Priscilla Pimienta Priscilla Pimienta

SAN DIEGO (CNS/ CBS 8) - Autopsies performed Wednesday on the bodies of a Skyline family of four found dead at their home -- apparently in a case of a murder- suicide -- were inconclusive, authorities reported. Both parents may have planned the deaths, according to published reports.

Cause-of-death rulings for 44-year-old Alfredo Pimienta, his 37-year-old wife, Georgina, and their daughters, Emily, 9, and Priscilla, 17, will remain on hold pending toxicology tests that could take weeks or months to complete, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office.

A relative visiting the Pimientas' rented Parkcreek Court home spotted two of the family members' bodies in their backyard pool about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to San Diego police.

Patrol officers found Alfredo Pimienta and his daughters dead in the water, SDPD Lt. Ernie Herbert said. The body of Georgina Pimienta was inside the home, in a bathtub.

All four appeared to have drowned, according to a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Evidence at the residence and interviews with relatives provided "strong evidence" that the deaths were an instance of murder-suicide, Herbert said, declining to elaborate.

According to the Union Tribune, two suicide notes from both the father and the mother have been recovered. Police Captain Jim Collins of the San Diego Police Department told the paper, "This event was probably planned by both of them. What role each played we are still trying to determine."

The relative who discovered the bodies told police Alfredo Pimienta, a tow-truck operator, had arranged to meet him at the family's home early Tuesday morning, supposedly to discuss a business transaction, the homicide lieutenant said.

Toxicology screenings on the family could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to complete, an investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office said.

 

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For earlier versions, read below.

 

SAN DIEGO (AP/ CBS 8) At least one suicide note was found at the home of a Bay Terraces family found drowned in an apparent triple murder-suicide on Tuesday, according to a source within the San Diego Police Department.

The source tells News 8 that the father, Alfredo Pimienta, 44, is believed to be the one responsible for the death of his wife, Georgina, 38, and two daughters, 17-year-old Priscilla and 9-year-old Emily. The source also confirms that Alfredo weighted himself down to drown himself in the family swimming pool alongside the two girls. Police say Georgina's body was found in a bathtub inside the home.

Sources also tell News 8 that a second note was found at the home, which may be from the mother, Georgina, but that is still unconfirmed by police.

The discovery stunned friends and neighbors in the quiet cul-de-sac, who described the four as a hard-working couple, a teenage daughter who was excited for prom and a younger girl who made friends easily.

San Diego police Lt. Ernie Herbert said investigators found evidence of a murder-suicide after combing the home, but they were still working to determine a motive.

A relative reported finding the bodies after Alfredo Pimienta called to ask that he visit the home in a quiet southeast San Diego neighborhood, police said. The relative came to discuss a business transaction shortly after dawn.

Neighbors and friends said nothing seemed amiss with the couple, known for logging long hours at work, or their two girls. Georgina Pimienta's stepfather, Jose Villa, said he and his wife picked up Emily from school Monday. He said the family owns a towing business.

Priscilla Pimienta was preparing for college. She was to graduate next month from San Diego's High Tech High School, a charter school that has earned national acclaim for its high graduation rate, said classmate Alex Jasmund.

Jasmund said he, Priscilla and two other friends went to a theater Monday afternoon to see the 3-D vampire-hunting movie "Priest," a graphic-novel adaptation. Priscilla met with friends for frozen yogurt after the film to plan for Saturday's prom, including details like ordering a limousine and having a party with about 20 classmates.

Jasmund said everything seemed normal when he saw Priscilla, her parents and her younger sister at a pool party at the home Saturday for Priscilla's friends.

"How can this happen to anyone? Why would this happen to anyone? They don't deserve this. No one does," Jasmund said as he stood with his father outside the ranch-style house with Christmas lights on the garage door.

Marlon Soriano, who lives two doors away, said the family had been renting the home for no longer than two years. They hosted pool parties for relatives in the summer.

"They were a really close family," he said.

The house is one of the few rental properties in the safe, family-oriented neighborhood, said Soriano, 22, who has lived in the area since he was born. New tenants arrived at the home every two or three years.

"We're all pretty close-knit," Soriano said. "We all know each other."

Soriano waved hello to the family but generally didn't talk to them. The younger girl often played with other children in the neighborhood.

"The children were happy," he said. "They always seemed to be smiling."

Soriano said police knocked on his door at 7 a.m. to tell him about the crime scene. Police said the relative called to report the bodies at around 6:40 a.m.

 

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier story, read below.

SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - The bodies of a Skyline couple and their two daughters were discovered Tuesday at their home in an apparent case of murder-suicide, authorities reported.

A relative visiting the house in the 100 block of Parkcreek Court about 6:30 a.m. spotted several people in the family's backyard swimming pool, according to San Diego police.

Officers responding to the man's 911 call found the bodies of 44-year-old Alfredo Pimienta and his daughters, Emily, 9, and Georgina, 38, in the pool, according to a News 8 report.

Police then checked inside the house and found 17-year-old Priscilla Pimienta dead in a bathtub.

All four family members appeared to have drowned, though official cause-of-death rulings were on hold pending autopsies, according to Maurice Luque, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The postmortem exams are scheduled for Wednesday, Herbert said.

Evidence at the residence and interviews with relatives provided "strong evidence" that the deaths were a case of murder-suicide, according to Herbert. Investigators believe they know which family member carried out the crime, but withheld that information pending final confirmation.

The motive remained undetermined in the late afternoon, the lieutenant said.

The relative who discovered the bodies told police Alfredo Pimienta had arranged to meet him at the family's rented home early this morning, supposedly to discuss a transaction in connection with an automotive business the two men were jointly involved in, the homicide lieutenant said.

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