Authorities on Wednesday said two people found dead in an abandoned vehicle in a wooded area near this Sierra town may have died in a murder-suicide.
The bodies of a man and a woman were found late Tuesday in a
Toyota SUV after a man phoned in an anonymous tip to the Nevada
County sheriff's office.
Because of bitter cold and approaching nightfall, a deputy was stationed near the vehicle to guard the crime scene until early Wednesday, when investigators began processing the scene and thawing out the frozen bodies.
Temperatures in the Truckee area have been at or below zero the past several nights.
"The crime scene is under a blanket of snow," Nevada County Sheriff's Capt. Ron Smith told the Sierra Sun newspaper.
Smith said investigators estimate the bodies have been there for two to three days. A shotgun was found inside the SUV, and Smith said blood spatter was found outside the vehicle.
"It appears (the man's) wound was self-inflicted," Smith said.
He said evidence suggests the woman was killed outside the car and then dragged inside before the man shot himself. Names of the victims have not been released.
Smith said autopsies may be conducted on Thursday to try to confirm a cause of death. Until then, he said investigators would continue to treat the killings as a possible double homicide.