A body found in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was identified Monday as that of British businessman Ian Stuart Spiro, whom investigators suspect of having killed his wife and three children.
The 46-year-old Rancho Santa Fe resident was found slumped over the steering wheel of his white 1992 Ford Explorer by campers in the popular hiking area at 3:57 p.m. Sunday.
San Diego County Sheriff's Department investigators have identified Spiro as a commodities broker, but news reports have speculated that the native of England was a spy and may have been linked to the Lebanese hostage crisis.
Spiro's wife and three children were found dead in their rented Rancho Santa Fe home Thursday. Gail Spiro, 40; Sara, 16; Dina, 11; and Adam, 14, were found dead in separate bedrooms of their Rancho Santa Fe house, each of them shot in the head.
Members of the family, who had moved to the upscale enclave a few months ago, were last seen by neighbors Nov. 1. Investigators said they believed that they had been dead for several days before they were discovered.
On Monday, investigators said they believed Spiro had been dead for two or three days before his body was discovered. That would place his death several days after the deaths of his wife and three children.
Sheriff's Lt. John Tenwolde said Spiro had suffered no outward signs of trauma. Deputy medical examiners said an autopsy was conducted Monday and that "everything is pending," including the cause of death.
"Anything is possible, but the evidence at the current time is that Ian Spiro killed his family," Tenwolde said. "Had we not discovered the body, we would be at the district attorney's office today seeking a warrant for his arrest."
Tenwolde said investigators are waiting for toxicology tests to be conducted on Spiro's body, the results of which could take several weeks.
"We have labeled it a death investigation," Tenwolde said. "We have not labeled it a suicide, we have not labeled it a murder."
No motive has been determined in any of the deaths, Tenwolde said, but there will be an investigation of rumors that the family suffered from financial hardships that could have led to the killings.
No weapons linked to the deaths have been found, Tenwolde said, and no suicide note has been found.
Investigators are in the midst of a detailed study of the Rancho Santa Fe house, Tenwolde said, including the taking of "hundreds of fingerprints" and electrostatic lifts of footprint impressions from the floors of the house.
Tenwolde said slugs have been recovered from the home's bedrooms, but declined to elaborate.
An inspection of the vehicle in which Spiro was found has yet to be conducted, Tenwolde said. And, it is unclear if Spiro died at the scene or if he had been killed earlier and driven to the remote area near the Imperial County line.
Tenwolde said Spiro was "familiar with the desert area" and that he had visited "on occasion for recreational purposes."
News accounts, mainly in British newspapers, linking Spiro to espionage activity have not been confirmed, although Tenwolde said the Sheriff's Department has "had liaison interaction with a number of agencies" in the course of the investigation. Tenwolde, declined, however, to name those agencies.
Body of Murder Suspect Found Body of man accused of killing his wife and three children was found in northeastern San Diego County near calcite mine area.