Last updated: February 07. 2014 5:24PM - 4741 Views
By John Seewer Associated Press

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DEFIANCE — A couple, their daughter and teenage granddaughter were found shot to death in their rural home, and authorities were trying to determine if the grandfather’s health problems sparked the apparent triple murder and suicide.

The grandfather apparently killed the others and then took his own life, according to Defiance County sheriff’s department investigators who went to the scene about 60 miles southwest of Toledo. There was no immediate determination if his health problems prompted the rampage.

The sheriff’s department said the bodies were discovered Thursday night by a family member who was checking on the welfare of the four.

They were last seen around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Sheriff David Westrick said Friday that two bodies were found in one room and two in another. He declined to be more specific about the scene or indicate how many times each was shot.

A handgun apparently used in the shootings was found at the scene, the sheriff said.

The house is in a rural area several miles outside the city of Defiance.

Family members gathered at another home and declined comment.

Officials identified the dead as Robert Garza Sr., 68, his wife, Christine Garza, 61, their daughter, Zoila Garza, 42, and a granddaughter, 15-year-old Rebecca Garza.

The sheriff said he knew the family, not well, and said Robert Garza was a hard-working, law-abiding individual who didn’t come to the attention of deputies.

Westrick said the initial investigation indicated Garza had health problems and was concerned about exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

The sheriff said there was no immediate indication whether the health problems might have sparked the shooting rampage, and he declined to specify Garza’s ailments.

Lindsey Poston, who lives down the road from the Garza house, said she hasn’t talked to the family much but in the summer she would see a boy and girl swimming in the above-ground pool or jumping on a trampoline behind the house.

She said the Garza couple had several children and had lived in the house, which is a few miles outside Defiance and mostly surrounded by farmland, for at least 20 years.

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