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Four Dead in 2 Separate House Fires

April 14, 1998

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ An investigation into the death of a woman found shot to death in her burned home led authorities today to another burning house and three more bodies.

Authorities suspected the deaths were a murder-suicide that apparently stemmed from a soured romance between Darrel Miller, 23, and Susan John, 20.

Both worked in the central dispatch area of Iowa Methodist Medical Center, spokesman Jason Menke said. The other victims were not immediately identified, but neighbors said Miller lived with his mother, Theresa, and sister, Crystal.

Chief Denny Anderson of the Polk County Sheriff’s Department said Ms. John’s body was found several hours after a fire was reported at her home Monday in Pleasant Hill, a Des Moines suburb. Authorities initially believed no one was at home at the time of the fire.

The investigation then led them to Miller’s home in Des Moines early this morning. Ms. John’s car was found there, and the house was filled with smoke.

After firefighters controlled the fire, ``they found Darrel Miller, who appeared to have one gunshot wound to the head with the weapon still in his lap,″ Anderson said.

The bullet found in Ms. John’s body would be compared with the gun found with Miller to confirm the murder-suicide theory, he said.

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