Original article no longer available
By AMY TAXIN, The Associated Press
SANTA ANA – Five members of a Turkish-American family whose decomposed bodies were found in an upscale home in Orange County earlier this year apparently died in a suicide pact, a sheriff’s investigator said Wednesday.
No explanation has been found for the mysterious act, in which a husband and wife, their 21-year-old twin daughters and a grandmother all died wearing black clothing in their home in a gated community.
The twins and the grandmother died from lethal doses of prescription drugs, said Dan Salcedo, an investigator for the Orange County Sheriff’s homicide unit. The father, Manas Ucar, 58, was fatally shot by his wife Magrit, who then turned the gun on herself.
Although Manas Ucar’s death was ruled a homicide, investigators say he wanted to die because he had a lethal dose of Vicodin in his system before he was shot in the chest, Salcedo said.
“You could say it was a pact,” Salcedo told The Associated Press. “I think they were all willing participants and probably all decided to do what they did together as a family.”
The Ucars left no notes or indications of plans to kill themselves. The last day they were seen was May 3.
The bodies of the family were found in their house in San Clemente, about 65 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Relatives had forced their way into the house after not hearing from the family for some time.
The couple’s bodies were found in a downstairs closet with two handguns nearby. Twins Margo and Grace and their 72-year old maternal grandmother, Fransuhi Kesisoglu, were found dead in the attached bedroom.
What prompted the deaths remains a mystery. Salcedo said investigators ruled out a break-in and believe the Ucars agreed to kill themselves because they were last seen on the same day their bodies found three weeks later and took fatal doses of similar medicines.
“The only thing we can’t answer is why,” he said. “There’s no notes. There’s nothing we found that would indicate a reason, a motive.”
According to the coroner’s reports, the drugs included a narcotic pain reliever, sedative, antihistamine and antidepressant. All are available in common medicines.
Manas Ucar came to this country from Turkey in the 1970s. He completed his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Syracuse University in New York and later started his own company as an accident reconstruction consultant. His daughters had recently finished work toward their bachelor’s degrees in biology at the University of California, San Diego.
Salcedo said he has interviewed friends and relatives, some of whom flew in from Turkey, to try to piece together what happened. Investigators have forensically analyzed the family’s computers but found no clues as to why the Ucars took their lives.
The most common reasons given for suicide are mental health problems, marital troubles or financial woes but none of those match this case, Salcedo said.
Associated Press Writer Alicia Chang contributed to this report.
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 18:16 PST © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SAN CLEMENTE There was no note and authorities said there is still no explanation as to what happened inside a home in Sea Point Estates, where a family of five was found dead three weeks ago.
Investigators have not ruled out a possible suicide pact or murder suicide. What they do know is that sometime around the first week of May, Manas Ucar, 58, and his wife, Margrit Ucar, 48, were both shot in a first-story bedroom in their home. Two guns were found on the floor near to the couple, although investigators won’t say if both were fired, and if so, by whom.
Their twin daughters, Margo and Grace, were found lying in a bed in the room. Margrit’s mother was found dead in a chaise in the room. They had no bullet wounds.
The bodies of the family were not found until about three weeks after their death, when family members grew concerned. On the day of Margrit’s birthday, they decided to break a window and look inside the home, making the gruesome discovery.
On Monday night, investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department held a meeting with residents of the gated community to share one important fact they say they are sure about – the only people involved in this case were those who were found inside the home.
“Nobody came in and left,” said Investigator Dan Salcedo of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “There is no cause for fear or alarm.”
Investigators from the sheriff’s homicide division were called to the gated community when family members found the five bodies inside the home on May 25. There was no sign pointing to a homicide, but investigators were called because of the number of bodies found inside, Salcedo said.
“It’s very rare that you get more than one suicide, but five is extremely rare,” Salcedo said.
But authorities have yet to find an explanation, he said. Investigators have interviewed relatives and friends of the family, but they seemed to be as bewildered as investigators, he said.
Friends described the family as religious, loving and overprotective at times. Manas Ucar, a former professor at Syracuse University, was a consulting engineer. The two daughters had finished their courses at UC San Diego in January.
Marital, financial or personal problems are common factors in suicides, but nothing seems to explain what may have caused this to happen, Salcedo said. Authorities will be interviewing family members from out of state this week to see if that may provide a clue.
Toxicology results on the four bodies are also expected in about a week.
Investigators were looking as to why all family members were wearing black when they were found, but family members said it was common for the family to dress in black. The two girls and their mother also dressed alike often, Salcedo said.
“The family may never find out why,” Salcedo said. “I wish I had an answer, especially for the family.”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-454-7361