Victim identified in Carlsbad home invasion, murder

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Two transients were behind bars today on suspicion of fatally stabbing 63-year-old Marjorie Gawitt during a predawn residential burglary in a neighborhood near Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Ian Forrester Bushee, 37, and 26-year-old Malissa Deanna James were arrested late Monday morning a few blocks from the site of the slaying of Carlsbad resident Marjorie Gawitt, according to police.

Gawitt made a 911 call about 12:30 a.m. Monday to report that she had been badly wounded in an assault at her home in the 1800 block of Outrigger Lane, Lt. Greg Koran said. Medics took the mother of three to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Investigators believe that Bushee and James — both of them on probation in connection with a burglary in San Bernardino County — broke into Gawitt’s home, where at least one of them stabbed her before the pair stole her car and fled.

Deputies found the vehicle abandoned on Grand Avenue in San Marcos about five hours after the fatal assault occurred, sheriff’s Lt. David Buether said. Shortly before noon Monday, the suspects were captured in an open, brushy area off the 4800 block of Park Drive, about one-tenth of a mile from the victim’s home.

Last April, the suspects were arrested after a homeowner in Upland walked in on them as they were allegedly ransacking the victim’s home, according to The Press-Enterprise in Riverside. The pair allegedly fled with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and electronics, including $70,000 in collectable coins stuffed in a sock.

Late Monday evening, Bushee and James were booked into county jail on suspicion of murder, burglary, conspiracy and auto theft. They were being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Categories: Local San Diego News

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