Daniel Brandhorst

Daniel Brandhorst and Ronald Gamboa
Ronald Gamboa, pictured with his adopted son, David Brandhorst

Daniel Brandhorst, 42, lived in a home perched on the lip of a canyon in the Hollywood Hills with his partner Ronald Gamboa and their adopted 3-year-old son. They were returning from a vacation in Boston and Cape Cod.

The couple had been together for 14 years. Brandhorst was the serious one, the lawyer and accountant, the man who dreamed of becoming a professor. Gamboa, 33, was the happy-go-lucky one, the beloved manager of a Gap store in Santa Monica, the family man with a glint of mischievousness in his eye and an ever-ready arsenal of jokes.

If Gamboa's sister or friend said "Isn't that cute" about a puppy or "Isn't that beautiful" about a sunset, Gamboa would retort: "What am I?"

Both had moved from small towns--Brandhorst from Liverpool, N.Y., Gamboa from Anchorage, Ky.--to New York City, where they met. They moved to Los Angeles a few years later when Brandhorst was transferred to another office of his company, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

They loved to travel around the world, hang out with a close group of friends and visit family. They lavished attention on the blue-eyed 3-year-old they adopted as an infant and named after Daniel's brother David.