Dead SoCal family dressed in all black

May 28, 2008 7:08:46 PM PDT
The decomposing bodies of five family members found inside an upscale Southern California home Sunday were all dressed in black. "No hoods, nothing ceremonious, just black clothing," Lt. Erin Giudice, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, told ABC News.

Giudice said she did not know whether the black clothing had any specific meaning, religious or otherwise.

The bizarre crime scene detail only confuses a homicide investigation involving three generations of a Turkish-American family. Authorities late Tuesday identified the five family members found dead inside the gated community home overlooking the Pacific Ocean as Manas Ucar, 58; his wife, Margrit, 49; their 21-year-old twin daughters, Margo and Grace; and Fransuhi Kesisoglu, the 72-year-old mother of Margrit.

Giudice also confirmed that the twin daughters were found laid out side-by-side on a bed in the downstairs bedroom of the million-dollar home. Their grandmother, a resident alien in the United States, was lying on a chaise longue.

Authorities had already revealed that all five bodies were found in a bedroom space connected to a closet by a bathroom. The bodies of Manas and Margrit Ucar were found in the closet area. Both had been shot, and a pair of handguns, one of which was registered to Margrit, were found near their bodies.

Regardless of the gunshot wounds, the Orange County coroner has not yet determined conclusively the cause of death for any of the five family members. The identification process has been slowed by the badly decomposed state of the bodies, and toxicology results will not be complete for six to eight weeks, Giudice said.

Authorities have said that the family members may have been dead inside the house for up to three weeks, but authorities have resisted speculation about what may have caused the deaths, such as whether it was a murder-suicide. They have said, however, that they do not believe a killer is on the loose. There were no signs of forced entry.

The detail about the black clothing, Giudice said, only made her more reticent. "I certainly don't want to name someone as a murderer."

The five bodies were discovered by concerned family members, including brothers of Manas and Margrit, inside the San Clemente Sea Pointe Estates Sunday. Twice in the previous 10 days, sheriff's officers had driven past the exterior of the house after hearing from neighbors who had not seen the Ucars recently.

Manas Ucar was a professor of engineering and computer science at Syracuse University in New York in the early 1980s, Kevin Morrow, a university spokesman, told ABC News. Ucar left the university, where he received master's and doctoral degrees, between 1983 and 1985, to start a consulting company. His fields of expertise while at the university included thermal energy systems and solar energy, Morrow said.

Ucar's name appears in multiple online lists of California expert legal witnesses who specialize in car accident reconstruction. The professional address provided for Ucar is 31 Campanilla Street. A call to the number listed for the house goes to a voice-mail greeting.

Pat JaCoby, a spokeswoman for the University of California at San Diego, told ABC News that Margo and Grace Ucar were among the graduates during the last winter quarter from the university's Revelle College. Both are listed as human biology majors among the students listed for the 2008 commencement. At one point during college, Margo changed the spelling of her name from Margeaux with the registrar's office, JaCoby said.

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