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Retired Sheriff’s Deputy Kills Four

March 26, 2002

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MERCED, Calif. (AP) _ A retired sheriff’s deputy shot and killed his 5-year-old daughter and his three stepchildren Tuesday while his estranged wife was out for a walk, then committed suicide with the body of one of the youngsters in his arms.

John Hogan had apparently entered the house after his wife had set out on her morning walk, authorities said. He had not been living there.

The motive was unclear, Merced County sheriff’s Cmdr. Bart Pazin said

``Nobody could ever foresee something like this,″ Pazin said.

Hogan was found dead in the bed of the master bedroom, the body of 5-year-old Michelle Hogan in his arms, investigators said.

Christine McFadden returned from her walk shortly after 7 a.m. and found her 17-year-old daughter dead in the hallway outside her bedroom, said sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Cavallero.

McFadden went to a neighbor’s house in the well-to-do neighborhood to call police, then returned home with deputies and found the three other children and Hogan in separate bedrooms, all shot to death, Cavallero said.

``It looks like they had been sleeping,″ Cavallero said of the children.

Cavallero said McFadden told deputies her husband _ a retired Santa Clara County deputy _ was not in the house when she left at 6 a.m.

The three older children were identified as Melanie Willis, 17; Stanley Willis, 15, and Stuart Willis, 14.

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