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Man, woman, baby found dead

Published: Saturday, Sept. 17 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

A body bag is removed from a South Ogden apartment where three badly decomposed bodies were found.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

SOUTH OGDEN — Police removed the badly decomposed bodies of a man, a woman and an infant from an apartment here Friday, the result of what police suspect was a murder-suicide that had taken place days earlier.

Gunshot wounds have led police to believe the man shot the woman, then turned the gun on himself. The dead infant was found with the other two bodies. They are believed to be the baby's parents.

Police had not released the identities of the deceased late Friday pending notification of family.

No one heard a gunshot or evidence of a struggle, said South Ogden Police Chief Val Shupe.

But after neighbors complained to the apartment manager of a strong smell, police were called to the Villa South apartments Friday morning. After going to the apartment, the manager said she felt something serious had happened and she called police, who arrived about 10 a.m.

The bodies were badly decomposed, Shupe said. The Office of the Medical Examiner will determine how long the bodies had been there and the exact cause of death for all three.

Both adults appeared to be in their 20s. The woman appeared to have been shot in the chest and the man in the head, police said. It was not known how the baby died.

"I'm bothered by the fact that someone didn't report the smell sooner," Shupe said.

James White, 24, who lives next door to the deceased family in Villa South, located at 37th Street and Grant Avenue, said he was getting ready to call the local Health Department because of the smell.

He noticed the stench of decay about a week ago but thought someone hadn't taken out their trash.

The smell intensified on hotter days. But when police opened the apartment's door Friday, the smell caused some neighbors to clear the area.

Throughout the morning and afternoon, the smell of death occasionally reached neighbors and bystanders, who gathered to watch police.

"It creeps me out," said White, who has lived in his apartment for about a month.

He didn't know his now-deceased neighbors, but he suspected they kept to themselves like most people in the complex. Other neighbors, who declined to give their names, said the family was quiet and that the baby was beautiful.

Police had been summoned to the address once before, Shupe said, but it was because the man had called them about a loud party.

A background check on the man revealed no criminal history in Utah. Investigators plan to check a national crime database.

Investigators are interviewing neighbors to find out who last saw the family. They also are looking at receipts to piece together, if possible, when the couple last left the apartment.

Two officers who first entered the apartment and found the bodies secured a search warrant, Shupe said. By about noon, officers began gathering evidence at the scene.

A gun was recovered, Shupe said, but he didn't have a description of the weapon.

By 3:45 p.m., crime scene investigators brought out two body bags on gurneys and placed them in a medical examiner's truck.

South Ogden has not had a homicide-suicide for about three years, Shupe said.

"It is tough, especially if you have grandchildren or children," he said. Monday, the officers will have a chance to debrief and discuss the personal effects of the situation, he said.

Before police left the scene, they gave a cage containing a surviving guinea pig to animal control officers.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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