Calaveras County Coroner Kevin Raggio said he determined Philip Marshall and his two children were all killed by a gunshot wound to the head, after performing an autopsy Tuesday morning.
For details, read Tragedy at Forest Meadows.
Marshall shot his two children, Alex, 17, and Macaila, 14, along with the family dog before turning the gun on himself at his home in Forest Meadows late last week.
The weapon used in all the killings was a Glock 9mm, which was registered to Marshall, according to Sgt. Chris Hewitt of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.
While the exact time of death was initially unclear, Raggio believes he’s narrowed it down.
“My assumption, from condition of the bodies and so forth, it occurred either late Thursday night or Friday morning,” he said. “Number one, the kids didn’t make it to school Friday.”
As is standard procedure in cases like these, Raggio is having a toxicology report performed on the blood of Marshall and his two children. These tests will determine if there were any drugs present in the blood stream.
Reports from the Sheriff’s Office indicate the children were sleeping when shot, however Raggio said they were lying six feet away from each other on separate parts of a large U-shaped sectional in the living room. It’s unlikely Marshall could have shot one without waking the other.
When Hewitt was asked about this, he declined to comment.
“I can’t comment on that,” he said. “It’s part of an active investigation.”
When asked whether it was possible that Alex and Macaila were drugged, Raggio said he couldn’t comment at this time.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “We will be checking tox on everybody. It did appear as though they were sleeping.”
Hewitt said the toxicology report and pathologist’s report will hopefully be completed within two-to-three weeks.
Conspiracy theories about the deaths are gaining steam on comment forums below stories about the incident, Hewitt noted. Many of these stem from Marshall’s apparent involvement with the CIA as a contract pilot in the 1980s and several books he wrote about 911 in which he accused the United States Government of being involved in the attacks.
Friends and classmates of Alex and Macaila were still in a state of shock and grief at Bret Harte High School Tuesday morning. Students from Calaveras High School put a large sign up above Alex and Macaila's lockers that read, "Two schools, one community, one heart."
Grief counselors will be available throughout the week to talk with grieving students.
A candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the quad. Candles will be provided, and attendees are asked to wear a white shirt.
A Memorial Service for Alex and Macaila will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bret Harte Football stadium.
Parents are pointed to this guide to help their children cope with the losses.