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Anaheim Pair in Death Pact Found Dead : Shootings: Couple sent videotape to relative saying that they wanted to 'end it all' while at the peak of their lives.

August 01, 1990|JAMES M. GOMEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Anaheim real estate broker and his wife, who made a videotape recounting their decision to "end it all" while they were still successful, were found shot to death in their home this morning in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said.

The bodies of Douglas L. Ridenour, 48, and his wife, Dana S. Ridenour, 45, were found in the family room of their South Dickel Street home about 2:40 a.m., Anaheim police Sgt. Chet Barry said.

In the videotape, which was mailed to a relative, the couple stated that they had achieved financial success and were satisfied with their personal lives, Barry said.

"They decided they reached the age where they have gone as far as they are going to go," Barry said. "They decided they wanted to make the decision as to when it all should end."

Both had been shot once in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun, Barry said. Their bodies were found on separate couches, about 48 hours after the shootings occurred he said. The bodies of the couple's two poodles were also found in the room.

Police were alerted to the couple's home after a dispatcher received a frantic call from Douglas Ridenour's brother, Ronald, of Santa Barbara, who told police he had just received a videotape in the mail in which the couple explained that they decided to kill themselves months ago.

The brother had no prior knowledge of the couple's apparent suicide pact, Barry said.

Barry said Douglas appeared to have shot his wife once in the head as she lay on a family room couch. He then shot the dogs. Finally, he laid down on a separate family room couch and turned the gun on himself, Barry said.

The couple had no children.

Police investigating the scene found a will and documents notifying family that they had paid for funeral arrangements.

"The whole thing was as neat as can be," Barry said. "Every thing was taken care of."

Investigators were continuing a probe into the apparent murder-suicide, and were not ruling out any explanation, Barry said.

"We are taking a close, hard look at this," Barry said. "We don't want to overlook anything."

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