Autopsy results released today confirm that a husband and wife whose bodies were found inside their partially burned North County home died in a murder-suicide, authorities reported.
Employees of the produce stand operated by Fred and Virginia Silva of Escondido found the couple’s bodies in their home on Valle Lindo Road on Monday morning, according to police. A pistol lay on the floor nearby, Lt. Chris Wynn said.
Postmortem exams determined that the 64-year-old woman succumbed to smoke inhalation and her husband, 62, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled their deaths a murder and a suicide, respectively.
Investigators believe the blaze that damaged part of the Silvas’ home before burning itself out was intentionally ignited.
“It appears that the (husband) attempted to start a fire inside of the residence using gasoline,” the lieutenant said. “There was a strong odor of gasoline present inside the residence when emergency workers arrived at the scene.”
Fred Silva had written several apparent suicide notes, according to Wynn.
The couple reportedly had been facing worsening financial hardship and were involved in a legal dispute with their son over ownership of their home.
Also, Virginia Silva’s health had been severely declining in recent months, neighbors told reporters.