Police: Mother, children apparently strangled

CHULA VISTA (CNS) – Three family members slain in an apparent murder-suicide at their Eastlake-area home on Wednesday were strangled, police said.

Officers checking on the welfare of 41-year old Mary Alvarez, her 11- year-old son, Hamid, and 12-year-old daughter, Angelica, found their bodies in three rooms of their tri-level townhouse late Wednesday morning.

Investigators went to the Currant Way residence about five hours after a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer found Alvarez's unoccupied 2001 Hyundai Elantra partially blocking a traffic lane on an elevated section of State Route 125 in Spring Valley.

In a ravine about 150 feet below the bridge just south of SR-54 was the body of the woman's handyman boyfriend, whose name has not been released. He apparently had killed himself by leaping off the towering span, authorities reported.

“There's little doubt that these (deaths) were murders and a suicide that stemmed from a relationship that went bad,” Chula Vista police spokesman Bernard Gonzales said this afternoon.

All three of the presumed homicide victims evidently had been asphyxiated, and the woman and girl also had suffered severe head wounds, apparently from a blunt object of some kind, according to Gonzales. Official cause-of-death rulings, however, remained on hold pending autopsy results.

Alvarez, a special-education instructional aide at San Ysidro High School, had not shown up for work for at least one day prior to the discovery of the family's deaths.

The woman's boyfriend had been living with her and her children for an undetermined amount of time, and all four had moved in to the three-floor townhouse in a newly developed section of the Eastlake district of Chula Vista within the last several weeks, Gonzales said.

Alvarez, a divorcee, either had broken up with her boyfriend — who was not the youngsters' father — or was trying to, even though he had moved into the family's new home with them, according to police.

The suspected murderer apparently was self-employed, doing odd jobs and construction pick-up work for “under the table” wages, Gonzales said.

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