BORREGO SPRINGS (CNS) - Authorities sought Tuesday to determine what prompted an apparent murder-suicide that claimed the lives of the longtime editor of an East County community newspaper and her estranged husband.
Deputies checking on the welfare of Judy Winter-Meier, 61, found her body and that of her 59-year-old husband, Jim, in their Borrego Springs home early Monday evening, according to sheriff's officials and the Borrego Sun, the biweekly publication for which Winter-Meier had worked since the mid-1970s.
Detectives believe Jim Meier, a retired park ranger, shot his wife with a revolver before turning the gun on himself, said Casey Jones, a reporter for the Borrego Sun.
Her body was found in her kitchen, and her husband on a living-room couch, according to sheriff's officials.
The staff of the newspaper grew concerned after Winter-Meier failed to show up for work Monday, a deadline day for the 4,000-circulation periodical, Jones said.
"She hasn't missed a Monday that we put the paper together, ever," he said.
The deaths were "shocking" news for the small desert community where Winter-Meier had long been a prominent citizen, Jones said.
"There's been people parading in all day, just in disbelief," he said. "I mean, these people grew up with her."
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Stretches of state Route 163 will be closed beginning Monday night and continuing through Friday morning for maintenance work and to reduce the height of the overpass at Friars Road, Caltrans announced.
Temperatures Tuesday are near average, continuing to cool through Friday. Gusty winds in the mountains and deserts from the afternoon through evening.
The 22-year-old man who was shot by sheriff's deputies near the ticket window of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was arraigned at his hospital bed at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla on Monday.
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A U.S. citizen was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego Monday on charges of stealing nearly $100,000 in Social Security disability benefits by concealing his overseas residency for almost a decade.
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