Officials say family had suicide pact
By AMY TAXIN
The Associated Press
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
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