Bodies found in Escondido house fire the result of murder-suicide

ESCONDIDO (CNS) – The bodies of a couple who died in a murder-suicide were found inside their partially burned North County home Monday, authorities reported.

The Escondido Police Department got a 911 call reporting a fire in a possibly occupied house in the 13900 block of Valle Lindo Road in Escondido shortly after 7 a.m., Lt. Chris Wynn said.

Firefighters discovered the bodies of Fred and Virginia Silva in a bedroom while extinguishing the blaze, which had mostly burned itself out by the time emergency crews arrived, according to Wynn. A pistol lay on the floor near the couple.

Fred Silva, 62, appeared to have died of a gunshot wound to the head, Wynn said. The cause of his 64-year-old wife's death was not immediately apparent.

“It appears that the (husband) attempted to start a fire inside of the residence using gasoline,” the lieutenant said. “There was a strong odor of gasoline present inside the residence when emergency workers arrived at the scene.”

Detectives soon learned that Fred Silva, who operated a produce stand along with his wife near their home, had written several apparent suicide notes.

“Based on the information learned from the family and the physical evidence at the scene, this incident is being investigated as a murder- suicide,” Wynn said.

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