Couple Are Found Dead in Coto


A man and woman were found dead in a Coto de Caza home Tuesday in what may have been a murder-suicide, police said.

Katherine Dalton Phillips, 46, was found in an upstairs bedroom of her two-story home on Brentwood, investigators said, and a 49-year-old Sausalito man who may have been her boyfriend was found in the living room. His identity was being withheld until his relatives are notified.

The couple were discovered by a family friend, who had keys and went in about 6:30 a.m. to check on the house, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Phillips appeared to have been dead for several days, investigators said, while the man may have died up to two days later. There were no signs of forced entry and no indications of a struggle, and no weapons were found, Amormino said.


“It’s a complicated investigation,” he said. “We’re looking at murder-suicide, but we’re awaiting results from the coroner’s office. I can feel certain that it’s not a random act of violence.”

For hours, investigators combed the two-story home, set amid palm trees and with a three-car garage.

Neighbors said Phillips moved into the house about two years ago after a divorce and has two sons who live with their father.

“I’m in shock. It’s awful,” said resident Jenna Scherman, 17. “It’s Coto de Caza, and you don’t expect something like this to happen here.”