Two found dead on Tahoe beach
STATELINE: Two people were found dead Thursday morning on a South Lake Tahoe beach, but details surrounding the deaths were being closely guarded by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
Their identities had not been determined by Thursday night.
According to Sgt. Lance Modispacher, officers responded to a call at 11:59 a.m. from a female employee of the 4-H Campground near Nevada Beach who said there was a man with a severe facial injury.
When a patrol boat arrived, authorities found a dead man at the shoreline. That victim, who appeared to be in his late 30s early 40s, was dressed in tan shorts, sandals and no shirt.
One victim apparently had been shot in the face, Modispacher said. The other victim was found on the beach further from the water. The sex of the other victim was not clear, although it was reported that both were male.
“The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department will consider this crime a homicide until further crime scene work is completed,” Modispacher said.
Early emergency radio traffic speculated the deaths could be a murder-suicide.
A woman from Wellington who was camping at the Elks Point Campgrounds said she and her family had left the grounds around 10:30 a.m., and when they returned around 1 p.m. there were police officers canvassing the campgrounds and beaches while medics worked on the victim nearest the water.
“They were trying to do CPR,” she said.
Shortly after being called to the scene, officers received a report of a white male adult running south across Kingsbury Grade near the intersection of U.S. 50 and Stateline.
The man was described as 6 feet 2 inches tall weighing 175 pounds. He was wearing a light-colored “floppy” brimmed hat, a tan buttoned-down short-sleeved shirt and shorts.
Douglas investigators are attempting to locate the man, although they said they do not know if there is a connection to the deaths.
The 4-H beach parking area is gated, private property. A group of children with muscular dystrophy were camping on the grounds.
Shortly after 3 p.m. Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies asked Elks Point beachgoers to move farther north away from the scene. Crime-scene tape ran from the Bottom of Kahle Drive, across the Edgewood Golf Course beach front and onto Elks Point Beach.
Officials on scene refused to comment.
Ben Apalategui, 14, of Burney, Calif., was nearby when the bodies were discovered.
“I was on the dock playing football with my cousin and they had a girl on the next dock looking to see if she was alive,” Apalategui said. “Then all these people came over and they pulled this body out of the water.”
Apparently the victims died sometime in the early morning hours.
Bob Spivak, 38, of South Lake Tahoe was staying at Nevada State Beach Camp Grounds Wednesday night with friends. He said he heard some bangs but did not immediately think it was gun fire.
“We heard three bangs last night at like 3 a.m.,” Spivak said. “They sounded like garbage cans. It was the middle of the night. It woke us up and we went back to sleep and I forgot all about it.”
Another camper, Tonja Jacobson, was also roused in the middle of the night. She said she and her husband heard a group yelling early Thursday morning. She said it sounded like it was a group of men and women and there more than two people.
“I just heard a lot of shouting,” Jacobson said. “It could have been anywhere between midnight or 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. I think there was a mixture. I thought it was coming from (the 4-H Campground.) We couldn’t make out any words. It was just yelling. It sounded like more than two people arguing.”