Police Investigate Apparent Triple Murder-Suicide in Defiance

Published 02/07 2014 08:13PM

Updated 02/10 2014 11:25AM

Authorities in Defiance, Ohio are investigating an apparent triple murder-suicide in a South Side neighborhood. Defiance County Deputies say they believe Robert Garza Sr., 68, shot and killed his wife Christine, 61, daughter Zoila, 42, and granddaughter Rebecca, 15, before turning the gun on himself. 

"It shocked us. We had no clue, no indication there was any trouble," said Kenneth Strayer, a neighbor who knew the Garza family well. "The kids, daughter and granddaughter would come over and we have two horses and they'd bring apples over to the house in the summer and fall," said Strayer.

The Garza family was last seen alive on Wedesday around 3 p.m. It wasn't until Thursday evening that a family member discovered the four dead inside their home on Bowman Rd. 

Garza Sr. and his wife were found in one room and the daughter and granddaughter were found in another. Investigators also recovered a handgun inside the home.

"Based on everything we found at the scene, the evidence points to Robert being the shooter," said Captain Chris Clawson with the Defiance County Sheriff's Office.

Kenneth Strayer tells WFFT that Robert Garza Sr. had a long history of medical problems and was recovering from a recent stroke. Police say Garza Sr. had no criminal history.

"I would never imagine out here that we'd have any problem. In Toledo or Fort Wayne, or something, yeah, but not here," said Strayer. 

"It's a tragic incident, and our prayers go out to the family,"  said Captain Clawson. "We've had numerous suicides, but I personally haven't seen anything like this, a murder-suicide this large."

Investigators are speaking with family members to learn more about a possible motive for this shooting. Autopsy results are pending at the Lucas County Coroner's Office.

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