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Videotape Received By Relative of Couple Who Apparently Took Own Lives

August 2, 1990

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ A couple in their 40s who described themselves on videotape as fearful of growing old calmly talked of suicide, mailed the tape to a relative and took their lives, police said.

A horror-stricken Ronald Ridenour raced Wednesday to the Anaheim home of his 48-year-old brother, Douglas, and 45-year-old sister-in-law, Dana, after he viewed the videotape at his house in Santa Barbara.

There, he found their bodies slumped on separate couches in the den, along with the bodies of their two cherished poodles, police Capt. Stan Kantor said.

″They decided they reached the age where they have gone as far as they are going to go,″ said Sgt. Chet Barry. ″They decided they wanted to make the decision as to when it all should end.″

The murder-suicide had taken place two days earlier, Barry said. Ridenour apparently shot his wife before turning the 12-gauge shotgun on himself, he said. The couple, who had been married 22 years, had no children.

Ronald Ridenour received the videotape in the mail, along with a will, a receipt for cremation services and some personal effects, Barry said.

″He told me (last week) that I’d be receiving an important package in the mail,″ Ronald said Wednesday. ″As soon as I saw those papers, I knew what the videotape was.″

In the 15-minute videotape, Douglas and Dana described some recent successes in real estate and said they planned to go on a $50,000 spending spree.

The couple then talked about their fears of growing old and of ending their lives, Barry said.

″They said they had a full life and are very happy with it,″ Barry said. ″But neither one had a desire to grow old, and they were going to take care of it. They didn’t leave any doubt what they had in mind.″

In the tape, they asked Ronald to cremate their bodies and scatter the ashes in the ocean. They even prepaid for a funeral, police said.

The couple apparently had planned the suicide for months because the tape had been made in April, police said.

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