Sheriff: Apparent murder-suicide takes four lives

DEFIANCE, Ohio (WANE) – Police believe a man killed his wife, his daughter and 15-year-old granddaughter before turning a gun on himself. 

Deputies were called around 7:45 p.m. on Thursday by a family member that found the four dead inside the home at 25237 Bowman Road, about two miles south of Defiance and 45 miles northeast of Fort Wayne.

Investigators believe Robert Garza Sr., 68, shot and killed his wife Christine, 61, daughter Zoila, 42, and  his 15-year-old granddaughter Rebecca, before killing himself. Garza Sr. and his wife were found in one room and the daughter and granddaughter were found in another.

 

Defiance County Sheriff David Westrick said a handgun was found inside the home and is believed to be the one used in the shootings. Westrick said the house was in order and there did not appear to be a struggle before the shootings.

The sheriff’s department said in a release Thursday night the family was last seen Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Investigators have talked with several family members already and plan to continue speaking with relatives and neighbors over the next several days.

Westrick has been the Defiance County Sheriff for decades.

“We see a lot of stuff,” Westrick told NewsChannel 15. “We don’t see four deaths like this. I don’t ever remember it in the 40 years I’ve been around. It’s pretty rare.”

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive, but Westrick said Garza Sr. was a veteran of Vietnam and had been battling health issues. Westrick did not elaborate on what those issues were.

The sheriff said his department did not have any previous incidents with Garza Sr.

“It’s just an unfortunate set of circumstances,” Westrick said. “Something that’s going to be really hard to explain. But, these are always hard to understand.”

The incident is still under investigation.

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