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Police ID bodies in apparent murder-suicide

June 01, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Police have released the names of the two bodies found in the upstairs bedroom of a Huntington Beach home May 25 after an eight-hour standoff.

John Steven Raeuchle, 55, died from a self-inflicted single gunshot wound, said Lt. Russell Reinhart.

Valerie Ellen Pare Estes, 58, died from two gunshots that appear to have been inflicted by Raeuchle, Reinhart said.

Both resided in the home in the 8600 block of Garfield Avenue.

Preliminary investigation results indicate the deaths were a murder-suicide, he said.

Explosive charges were used to enter the residence where neighbors heard arguing and gunshots in the morning.

A SWAT team set off the first charge about 2:30 p.m. to open an iron security gate, which had prevented police from entering the property.

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More security gates were found inside the house. Additional charges were used before police entered shortly before 4 p.m., Reinhart said.

The person who called police about 8:30 a.m. described hearing arguments followed by gunshots, then someone shouting, "Oh my God," before another gunshot, he said.

The same account was given to police by other residents.

Officers blocked off four streets, including Garfield. Six homes were evacuated, Reinhart said.

Scott Osterhout, who lives around the corner in the quiet neighborhood, said he heard shots about 8:30 a.m. before leaving for work, but didn't think much of it at the time.

"It was loud. I thought it was a car," he said.

Osterhout said he heard three shots before a pause and then a fourth shot.

The investigation is ongoing.

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