4 dead in apparent murder-suicide in San Diego area

Reporting from San Diego -- Authorities are investigating an apparent murder-suicide that left two adults and two children dead.

The case began early Wednesday morning when a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer spotted a 2001 Hyundai blocking a lane of the 125 Freeway near Highway 54 in the Spring Valley area, authorities said. The body of a man was spotted in a ravine about 100 feet below, an apparent suicide.

In an effort to contact the co-owner of the car, CHP officers went to a three-story townhome in Chula Vista, aided by local police. The body of a woman was found inside the home in a pool of blood, authorities said. The children, a boy and a girl, were found dead in their beds.

The dead were identified as Mary Alvarez, 41, an employee of the San Ysidro School District; her daughter Angelica, 12, and son Hamid, 11. Police did not release the name of the man found in the ravine but said he lived in the same townhome as Alvarez and was not the children’s father.


Alvarez’s employer said she had not been to work for two days, Chula Vista police said.

The townhome is in a new complex catering to low-income families. Neighbors told reporters that they had heard loud noises coming from the townhome in the hours before the man’s car was spotted on the 125.

The deaths come a week after an apparent murder-suicide of a family of four in the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego. In that case, notes were left indicating that the father and mother had discussed the plot, authorities said. The father and two daughters were found in the home’s swimming pool; the mother was discovered in a bathtub inside the home.

The county medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death for Alfredo Pimienta, 44; his wife, Georgina, 38; and their daughters Priscilla, 17, and Emily, 9. Toxicology tests are pending.

Suicide notes indicated that the family was in deep financial trouble. Alfredo Pimienta worked for a towing company; the house was a rental, subsidized by the federal Section 8 program.