Houston attorney found dead in CA home
SAN CLEMENTE, CA Investigators found 38-year-old Elizabeth Fontaine's body next to those of her mother, 67-year-old Bonnie Hoult, and two children Monday at an upscale Orange County home. Forensic tests will be needed to determine who pulled the trigger because a handgun was found between the two women, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said. He said investigators spoke to the father, Jason Fontaine, and do not consider him a suspect. The father, who divorced the children's mother, was not at the home, authorities said. A message from The Associated Press was left with his attorney. "He's traumatized," Amormino said. "He's coping with it the best he can." Elizabeth Fontaine moved to the Houston suburb of Bellaire a month ago with her daughters, 4-year-old Catherine and 2-year-old Julia, but they returned to California after their father requested a custody hearing, according to court documents and authorities. Neighbors said the family and the mother were staying at a friend's home when the killings occurred. Fontaine appeared in court Monday morning and was ordered to return with the children later that afternoon, documents show. Authorities responded to the red-roofed, yellow stucco house when they did not show and found a bloody scene: Four bodies, each with one gunshot wound, in a first-floor hallway. Investigators were still piecing together what happened, but investigators believe the child custody dispute may have been a factor, Amormino said. The deaths jolted the community, which has 42 luxury houses overlooking a golf course. The homes, with four to six bedrooms, sell for more than $1 million each, and Amormino said the area has a "very low" crime rate. "It's very shocking," said next-door neighbor Rebecca Vandehei, who lit a stick of incense on her property in memory of the children. "I did a prayer. ... I wanted to try to help," she said. The last homicide report in town also involved a family massacre. People who hadn't heard from relatives broke into a home in another gated community in May 2008 and found five decomposing bodies. Authorities said Margrit Ucar, 48, shot her husband and herself, while their 21-year-old twin daughters and the family's 72-year-old maternal grandmother died from prescription drug overdoses in an apparent suicide pact. The motive has not been determined. San Clemente, with about 65,000 residents, lies near the ocean about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. Spanish-style mansions and exclusive neighborhoods dot its hills. One home bought by then-President Richard Nixon in the late 1960s was nicknamed the "Western White House." It was the Nixons' vacation home and he hosted several world leaders there.