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Man With News of Suicide Finds Family Dead

March 29, 2006

MATTESON, Ill. (AP) _ Police who came to a couple’s home to tell them their son had committed suicide in a Florida motel room found the man’s parents and sister shot to death inside, authorities said Wednesday.

Police said evidence indicates that Laron C. Bowens killed his family in this Chicago suburb before flying to Miami last week. He shot himself Monday morning in a motel in Ocala, Fla., about 300 miles north, Ocala police Maj. Rodney Smith said.

Police, accompanied by a relative who had been trying to tell Bowens’ parents and sister he had killed himself, found the bodies of Ronald Bowens, 42; Tamara Bowens, 40; and their daughter, Tyesa Bowens, 18, on Tuesday afternoon.

Family said they last saw them alive March 22, a day before Laron Bowens, 22, flew out of Chicago’s Midway Airport, according to Matteson Deputy Chief George Pfotenhauer.

A .40-caliber weapon was found in Bowens’ hotel room. Casings from such a weapon were found at the Bowenses’ home, but Pfotenhauer said police still need to do ballistics tests to determine whether the gun found was used in the killings.

A possible motive remains unclear, although Pfotenhauer said it appeared Laron Bowens’ mother had been urging him to find a job and become more religious. There was no suicide note, authorities said.

In Matteson, about 25 miles south of Chicago, the shootings have rattled neighbors, who said their upscale subdivision of large brick homes is normally quiet.

Tamara Bowens worked for the U.S. Postal Service, while her husband worked in construction and as a mechanic. Their daughter, an outstanding high school student, was attending St. Xavier University in Chicago. Neighbors said they moved into the house in 2003.

``They were neighbors who were quiet and didn’t say too much,″ said Sharese Collier, who lived next door. ``We only saw them coming and going. ... I don’t know what else to say except it’s a tragedy.″

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