Laguna couple, dog found shot dead

Neighbors gathered in Arch Beach Heights Thursday morning, questioning the suspected murder-suicide deaths of their neighbors.

A resident called police at 5:29 p.m. Wednesday, reporting that a married couple had been shot to death inside their home at 835 La Mirada St.

Laguna Beach police suspect Mike Brown shot and killed his wife, Mendy, their dog and then himself.

Edgar Alvarez, who lives across the street, heard shrieking Wednesday night. His neighbor June Trudson, the 911 caller, ran to his door overwhelmed after discovering the news.

After Mike Brown didn't show up for work Monday, a friend checked on the home, police and neighbors said.

The friend found the couple and their dog Rudy dead in their bedroom. Mendy Brown's body was found on its side in bed. Her husband's corpse was face-up, under the sheets, Alvarez was told.

Luisa Taylor, who lives next door, said she heard three popping sounds early Tuesday morning about 3 a.m. She assumed it was kids playing with "pyrotechnics."

Mike Brown worked in sales and marketing for a metal parts company, said Edward Clark, Alvarez's partner.

The Browns' home, modern and unassuming, is atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Flowers in a clear vase sat on the front steps Thursday morning. Packaged belongings — rolled-up rugs and taped-up decorative pieces — could be seen through a front window.

Neighbors said the Browns planned to move this weekend to South Carolina to be closer to her family.

Clark said Mike Brown seemed detached leading up to the move. Usually friendly and talkative, he had "been like a robot," not waving or communicating with neighbors as he usually did, Clark said.

Alvarez said although Mike Brown might have seemed less sociable, his wife always seemed happy.

"They looked like they were newlyweds," Alvarez said.

The couple moved into the neighborhood in late July. Their lovable gray great Dane helped them make quick friends.

Alvarez and Clark threw them a welcoming party. Alvarez felt close to Mendy Brown, regularly exchanging text messages with her.

The two said the couple's move seemed sudden. They hadn't heard of plans to move or issues with the neighborhood before Mendy Brown said they were planning to leave.

"It triggered me — what is the real agenda to get out?" Alvarez said.

Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz confirmed on Thursday that police are looking at financial issues as a possible motive.

Alvarez found a picture of the couple, their faces pressed closely, smiling into the camera like two teens in a photo booth.

He said he thought they had been married for 14 years.

The last time Alvarez texted Mendy Brown was Wednesday.

"It seems that you guys are hiding from the rest of the world," he wrote. "Hope everything is coming together as planned."

The Browns' beige SUV was parked horizontally in the driveway, blocking off the garage. Alvarez said residents wish police or coroner would take it away.

They need closure, he said.

Twitter: @JoannaClay

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