A Reseda man and his 14-year-old daughter, found shot Wednesday morning in a pickup truck near Reseda Park, apparently died in a double suicide, police said.
The shots that killed George Rowe, 41, and his daughter, Nichole Annette Rowe, 14, appeared to have been fired into their mouths, Police Lt. William Gaida said. A 9-millimeter automatic pistol was in the girl's right hand, lying in her lap, he said.
Detectives were treating the death of the girl, a freshman at Reseda High School, as a suicide, Gaida said. Police withheld a final assessment of the father's death pending the outcome of an autopsy and tests for gunpowder residue, but "everything is consistent with a double suicide," Gaida said.
No suicide note was found. Detectives and Rowe's family had little explanation.
Rowe's parents, who live in Reseda, told investigators that their son had been divorced, unemployed and supported by the family for several years, Detective Pat Conmay said.
Rowe was despondent about being unemployed for so long, according to a relative who asked that his name not be used.
"The guy was despondent in a normal despondent way when a person is unemployed," he said.
Of Nichole Rowe's apparent suicide, he said, "Whatever the situation was with her father, she had a lot of faith in him. She lived for him and he lived for her."
Rowe visited his mother on Tuesday, the relative said, and, before he left to visit his daughter, who was baby-sitting, his mother told him, "Get your act together, George."
The relative drove past the park Wednesday morning, he said, and saw the truck parked on Etiwanda Avenue next to several police cars.
He said he assumed that Rowe had been arrested for loitering and continued home to tell Rowe's mother that Rowe was "probably in jail."
Gardener Silverio Uc, 39, of Northridge said he had occasionally talked with Rowe and would see him in the truck adjacent to the park every weekday morning between 7:30 and 8 a.m.
Uc said Rowe always was alone in the truck.
Uc said he couldn't understand how Rowe could sleep parked in the sun with the windows rolled up.
He said Rowe told him he worked nights in a Chatsworth factory. Police said Rowe talked of finding work in the computer field, where he apparently had no formal training.
On Wednesday, Uc said, he noticed that Rowe already had arrived at the park.
Uc stepped out of his van and "heard a little bit, like a moaning--two or three times," and thought Rowe might be sick or drunk. He then looked into the cab and discovered the bodies.