Elderly Couple Case Ruled Murder-Suicide

By Lindsay Hood
|  Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011  |  Updated 4:13 PM PDT
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Possible Murder-Suicide in Escondido

Steven Thornburg

Officials responded to the fire on East Valley Parkway Monday morning.

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Possible Murder-Suicide in Escondido

An elderly couple was found dead in a burnt Escondido home Monday morning and police are suspecting it is a murder-suicide.
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The two bodies found in a charred home in Escondido has officially been ruled a murder-suicide, according to the San Diego Medical Examiner's office. The wife was alive when the fire started, according to the autopsy.

Virginia Silva, 64, died of smoke inhalation, our media partner the North County Times is reporting. Her husband, Fred Silva, 62, had apparently started the fire using gasoline and put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, investigators said.

A handgun was found near Fred Silva's body.

The couple was found in their bedroom early Monday morning after a fire broke out at their home off East Valley Parkway.

Virginia Silva had not been shot, and investigators initially found no obvious signs of injuries to her body, Lt. Chris Wynn told the paper Wednesday.

The home had partially burned when officers arrived, and it smelled of gasoline, suggesting arson, police said.

Police say the husband wrote suicide notes, giving one to a neighbor and another to a relative, the NCT reported.

Court records show the Silvas were in a legal battle with their son, David Silva, over ownership of the house.

An employee at a separate produce stand nearby said it appeared the woman who lived in the house had been sick, and recently started using a wheelchair.

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