A Murphys man shot his two teenage children, the family dog and then himself, the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department reported Sunday.
Friends of the two teens, 17-year-old Alex Marshall and 14-year-old Macaila Marshall, had not seen or heard from them since Thursday, according to Sgt. Chris Hewitt. Friends with whom the teens had plans Friday night became concerned when they did not show, Hewitt said.
They went to their house to check on them and through a window saw Alex and Macaila's father, 54-year-old Phillip Marshall, lying on the ground in a pool of blood, Hewitt said.
The friends called police and deputies responded to the family's home in the 1200 block of Sandalwood Drive in the Forest Meadows subdivision. Once inside, deputies found the two deceased teenagers on a couch with apparent gunshot wounds.
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They discovered the family dog deceased in a bedroom, Hewitt said.
A preliminary examination of the father and teenagers showed that all three suffered from single gunshot wounds to the head, from a handgun. The dog also had been shot.
An autopsy will be conducted this week to determine the official cause of death of the victims and of Phillip Marshall.
Hewitt said investigators believe Phillip Marshall is the shooter because the gun was found underneath him. There was evidence that the children were asleep on the couch when they were shot.
The mother of the two victims and estranged wife of Phillip Marshall was out of the country at the time of the shootings. She was located and notified of the deaths.
Both victims were students at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp. Additional details in the investigation will be provided as they develop.
Investigators still are trying to determine what motivated the apparent murder-suicide.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime
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