VERNAL — Authorities in Colorado suspect an elderly man turned a shotgun on his wife and then himself last week after learning that their son had been arrested in Vernal on suspicion of sexually abusing and raping a 12-year-old girl.

Carlos Moreno Graham Jr., 44, was arrested Sept. 15 at his home in Vernal and booked into the Uintah County Jail. His parents' bodies were discovered in their Rangely, Colo., home the following day by deputies with the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded to the home after co-workers of Carlos "Charlie" Graham Sr. called them when he failed to show up for work.

According to the sheriff's office, the elder Graham shot his wife, 64-year-old Lucille Graham, in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun as she slept in their bed on Sept. 15. The 68-year-old then sat down on the bed and shot himself in the head.

Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Michael Joos told the Grand Junction Sentinel that the couple had been on the telephone as late as 9 p.m. the night of their deaths, talking with relatives about their son's arrest.

"Whether that's emotionally tied to them — his arrest being tied to them doing this — I don't know. We may never know," Joos said, telling the Sentinel that Lucille Graham's failing health may have also been a motive for the shooting. She had emphysema, a neighbor told the newspaper.

Carlos Graham Jr. was formally charged late Friday in 8th District Court with six counts of sex abuse of a child and one count of rape of a child. All of the charges are first-degree felonies.

According to a probable cause statement filed with the court, Graham began sexually abusing the alleged victim, now 12, several years ago. The girl told a detective with the Vernal Police Department that the abuse began with Graham rubbing her thigh and progressed over time to include at least one instance of rape.

When interviewed by police, court records allege Graham told investigators that "he had not wanted these things to happen, but that the young girl had seduced him."

Graham remains in jail where he is being held on $175,000 bond. He made his initial court appearance Monday and was appointed a public defender. No future court dates have been scheduled.


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