Two Dead in Goleta Murder-Suicide

A Coroner's Office official removes one of the bodies in Tuesday's murder-suicide

Kelsey Brugger

A Coroner's Office official removes one of the bodies in Tuesday's murder-suicide

The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office is investigating an apparent murder-suicide that took place Tuesday morning at a Goleta apartment in the 7000 block of Aldus Drive. According to a statement prepared by Sheriff's spokesperson Kelly Hoover, a "family member" at the Hollister Village Apartment Community residence called 911 to report an emergency. When deputies arrived, they found a dead woman inside the home; another dead woman was found inside the garage.

It's not clear how the family member is related to either woman, or if or how the women themselves are related.

"The investigation is in its early stage, but at this point, the deaths appear to be the result of a murder-suicide," said Hoover. "The Sheriff’s Office believes this was an isolated incident and that there are no outstanding suspects." Detectives continue to investigate the incident while the Coroner's Office works to notify next of kin.

"Due to the active investigation, no additional details will be released at this time," Hoover said.

[UPDATE: Sept. 12]

Bricio Valasco, who lives directly downstairs, said five people lived above him in the two-bedroom apartment. Two were children, apparently a boy about 8 years old and a girl of about 12. Their mother seemed to be in her mid-thirties. A man who appeared to be in his fifties and a woman in her sixties also lived in the apartment. The two women could have been mother and daughter, he said. They were all Caucasian. The younger woman had moved into the apartment with her two kids less than a year ago. The older adults moved in later.

Another downstairs neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said she'd heard the boy screaming and crying at about 7:30 Tuesday morning and thought a dog was howling. When she realized it was the boy, she couldn't make out what he was saying, she said. By the time she went to call the police, five cop cars were already pulling up.

The boy's bedroom is right above hers, she said. They never made a sound other than routine noises of feet shuffling, and her only interactions with the boy, she said, were when he yelled from his balcony asking her to throw the ball he'd dropped. "They are quiet people," she said. "They don't talk to many people. Nobody knows them. They never caused a ruckus."

Valasco said he'd seen Sheriff's detectives escort the kids out of the apartment on Tuesday morning with white sheets covering their entire bodies.

The bodies of the two women were brought out in the early afternoon hours — one from the garage and the other out the front door.

Another neighbor told them he'd heard what sounded like a gunshot at about 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday and a woman screaming. Further details were not immediately available.

A 2005 Land Rover that was being thoroughly searched by detectives had license plates from Florida.

Valasco said that in general, many residents at Hollister Village keep to themselves and do not know much about their neighbors. He said you never hear about such violent crime in Goleta. "This is not normal."

[UPDATE: Sept. 13] The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the deceased as Christina Marie Martin, 57, of Tampa Bay, Florida, and Beth Michelle Curnow, 42, of Goleta. The two were "long-time acquaintances," the press release reads. It surmises that Martin was killed and that suspect Curnow killed herself. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow to determine Martin's cause of death.

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