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Murder/suicide: Bodies found in rental home

Archuleta County law enforcement officials discovered two bodies Monday in a house located south of Pagosa Springs on County Road 359 (Coyote Park Road) following a call requesting they check the residence.

Officers were dispatched at approximately 11 a.m. Det. George Barter and Special Investigator Harry Harris responded to the scene, as did Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht.

The bodies of Lansing C. Holden, 83, and Carol Y. Holden, 78, residents of Sedona, Ariz., were discovered inside the house, victims of gunshot wounds. The couple had rented the property.

“We initially treated the house as a crime scene,” said Macht, alluding to suspicions that the incident was related to the escape of two prisoners from the Archuleta County Detention Center the previous week. The escapees abandoned a stolen truck in the vicinity of the house and were later found south of that location. One of the suspects was shot and killed by Jicarilla police officers; the other was apprehended nearby.

A Durango-based forensics team from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene to handle the processing of evidence (the sheriff’s office evidence technician was not available) and the residence was cleared at approximately 7:20 p.m.

It was determined that the deaths occurred some time after midnight Saturday.

Following autopsies, Macht said Tuesday the deaths were a murder/suicide and said the couple had left papers at the scene indicating they had planned to end their lives. A notarized statement was found indicating the Holdens had decided to control the timing of their deaths, noting they had concentrated on the quality of their lives rather than on the quantity of experience together, and that they were determined to be in control. Both suffered health problems, Macht said.