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Writings Offer Clues in Goleta Slayings

The ex-postal worker who killed seven suspected a plot against her, authorities say.

February 04, 2006|Steve Chawkins | Times Staff Writer

Investigators in New Mexico have found evidence indicating that the woman responsible for this week's deadly rampage in Goleta believed that the U.S. Postal Service, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and a local hospital had conspired against her, authorities disclosed Friday.

Searching the rural home of Jennifer Sanmarco, postal inspectors and Santa Barbara sheriff's detectives discovered writings "that may shed light on an apparent motive," said Sgt. Erik Raney, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.

On Monday night, Sanmarco killed a former Goleta neighbor, fatally shot six workers at the postal sorting facility where she once worked and then killed herself. She was known as a difficult person on the job, and residents of her condominium complex in Goleta said she sometimes would burst into inexplicable tirades.

Funeral services were held Friday at St. Raphael's Church in Goleta for one of her victims, Charlotte Colton, a postal worker.

In 2001, deputies were called to remove Sanmarco from her workplace because she was behaving irrationally. Neither the Sheriff's Department nor the Postal Service offered details of her behavior, but Sanmarco was involuntarily placed in Vista del Mar, a Ventura mental hospital, for 72 hours.

The writings in Sanmarco's home in Milan, N.M., showed that she believed deputies, her former co-workers and "a local medical facility" were plotting against her, Raney said at a news release. Investigators believe that Sanmarco was alluding to her detention at Vista del Mar in 2001.

She was placed on a medical disability for psychological reasons and later quit her part-time job as a postal clerk, officials have said.

In their search Thursday, investigators also found a canceled check, made out to cash, with the notation "Will" on the memo line. They hope that a will they have yet to find will shed more light on her motivations, officials said.

Tracing the history of Sanmarco's 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, investigators Friday said she had purchased it legally in August from the Ace Pawn Shop in Grants, N.M. She bought her ammunition at a pawn shop in Gallup, N.M.

The events in the days leading up to her rampage are still murky. Investigators said credit-card records indicate she was in New Mexico on Jan. 24 and in Los Angeles six days later. They asked anyone who may have spotted her between those dates to call sheriff's detectives at (805) 681-4150.

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