[UPDATED with I.D.'s:] Valerie Ellen Pare Estes, OC Homicide No. 20: Victim of Surf City Murder-Suicide

UPDATE, MAY 27, 8:30 A.M.: Huntington Beach police have identified the presumed murder victim in Wednesday's murder-suicide in a Garfield Avenue home Wednesday as Valerie Ellen Pare Estes.

The 58-year-old was shot twice with a shotgun in an upstairs bedroom by John Steven Raeuchle, 55, who then turned the gun on himself, according to police.

The couple lived in the home alone but were not married.

They were oddballs, according to neighbors who spoke of loud and frequent all-night karaoke singing in the couple's backyard that disrupted the suburban bliss. There were apparently several complaints.

Upcoming Events

One neighbor recently observed Raeuchle, dressed in a business suit, walk up to Estes, who was gardening in the front yard. As they stood in front of one another, he raised his arms. She then doused him with her garden hose.

Police say the investigation continues.

ORIGINAL POST, MAY 26, 8:45 A.M.: Police received a call about loud arguing followed by gunshots in a two-story home in the 8600 block of Garfield Avenue, Huntington Beach, Wednesday morning.

After an eight-hour standoff that included evacuating six homes, blocking four streets, detonating explosive charges to pry open various security doors and sending a robotic device inside to look around, five SWAT officers went in and made a grisly discovery in an upstairs bedroom.

It was the bodies of a couple in their 50s. Police believe they resided in the home, although their identities have not yet been released. Whoever they are, their deaths were blamed on a murder-suicide.

Based on the recollections of various neighbors, someone shouting "Oh, my god," followed by gunshots, a woman humming and, finally, after a period of quiet, a final loud boom were heard.


View Larger Map

Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >