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Ouija Board Among Contents of Luggage Found in Ravine

February 1, 1993

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Broke and depressed in the weeks before his family’s slayings, a purported spy resorted to using a Ouija board in hopes of winning a state lottery jackpot and escaping financial ruin, a newspaper said.

The Ouija board was inside luggage discovered in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near the spot where Ian Stuart Spiro, 46, was found dead from cyanide poisoning inside his locked truck, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

The newspaper cited anonymous sources familiar with contents of the luggage as saying it also contained a pile of ″Super Lotto″ tickets, two microcassette audio tapes, mounds of family documents and their passports.

Authorities believe the tapes were made before and after the slayings of Spiro’s wife and three children in their rented northern San Diego County home. His despondent ramblings on those tapes included mention of the Ouija board and lottery tickets, sources told the Union-Tribune.

″The Ouija board is in the suitcase and some lottery tickets are in there,″ one source said. ″With that and what he says on the tape, it looks like he was using the Ouija board to pick his lottery numbers. He was that desperate.″

A Ouija board bears letters of the alphabet and other symbols with an accompanying triangular device that supposedly writes out messages as it moves with a person’s fingers lightly resting on it.

Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Marmack, who heads the department’s homicide unit, declined to comment about the board.

Spiro’s 41-year-old wife, Gail, and their children - Sara, 16, Adam, 14, and Dina, 11 - were found dead Nov. 5 in different rooms of their posh Rancho Santa Fe home. Each was shot in the head, apparently while sleeping.

Investigators believe the family was killed three or four days before neighbors checking on their welfare made the discovery. The body of Spiro, a self-described commodities broker, was discovered Nov. 8.

The family’s finances had dwindled to almost nothing by then, investigators said, leaving Spiro unable to pay the family’s monthly rent of $5,000.

Authorities have described the cassettes and other items in the luggage as key indications that the family was not killed by an Arab hit squad or others because of Spiro’s reported involvement with CIA and British intelligence agents in Lebanon.

Books and newspaper accounts published recently in Britain have linked Spiro with Oliver North’s efforts in the mid-1980s to free Western hostages in Lebanon, among other Middle East espionage activities and weapons deals.

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