SAN DIEGO — Cyanide poisoning caused the death of a purported British spy who investigators suspect committed suicide after killing his wife and three children, the county medical examiner said Friday.
As investigations into the deaths continue, an Oceanside newspaper reported Friday that bloody fingerprints belonging to suspect Ian Stuart Spiro were found on the wall of his son's bedroom at the posh Rancho Santa Fe home the family rented.
The body of Spiro, 46, was found slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle in a desert park on Sunday. Sodium cyanide granules were found in a plastic bag in the vehicle with him, along with a cup and two water bags, said sheriff's homicide Lt. John Tenwolde.
There were no marks or physical injuries to Spiro's body, Medical Examiner Brian D. Blackbourne said, and no alcohol or other drug was found in his system.
Although the toxicology tests completed Friday found a lethal concentration of cyanide in Spiro's body and suggest suicide, the investigation of his death has not been closed, Tenwolde said.
"We are proceeding as though he was murdered in the interest of not missing anything," he said. "We don't want to arrive at any premature conclusions."
Spiro had been missing since the bodies of his wife, Gail, 40; and three children--Sara, 16; Adam, 14; and Dina, 11--were found Nov. 5. They had all been shot in the head in separate bedrooms of the family's luxurious home in Rancho Santa Fe, apparently as they slept. They suffered no other physical injuries, Blackbourne said Friday.
Sheriff's investigators named Spiro as their suspect in the slayings before his body was found and said his death did not change their suspicions.
No alcohol, narcotic sedative or sleeping medication was found in the bodies of Gail or Sara Spiro, Blackbourne said, but the bodies of Adam and Dina Spiro contained Benadryl in amounts that would produce mild sedation.
Because of published reports that Spiro was a former U.S. and British spy who had worked during the 1980s to free hostages in Lebanon, friends and relatives have speculated that he and his family might have been the victims of a terrorist hit squad.