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Search suspended for missing Gilroy woman

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POSTED March 18, 2012 5:08 p.m.

GILROY  (AP) — Citing a lack of evidence, authorities said Sunday they have no plans to resume the search for a missing California woman they believe may have been killed by her son, an Iraq War veteran who shot his sister before killing himself this week.

A search crew, aided by friends and neighbors of Martha Gutierrez, found no signs of her after looking in a rural area of Santa Clara County on Saturday, Gilroy police Sgt. Joseph Deras said.

Gutierrez, 52, had not been seen since Tuesday, a day before authorities found the bodies of her son Abel Gutierrez and her 11-year-old daughter, Lucero, in the family's Gilroy apartment.

"There's not a single piece of evidence that can send us in any direction," Deras told The Associated Press.

Though police called off the search, several family members and friends were still looking for the woman Sunday, Deras said.

Police say 27-year-old Abel Gutierrez, an Iraq veteran believed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, shot his sister and then himself.

A family friend told the San Jose Mercury News that she was convinced Abel Guitierrez also shot his mother.

"He killed her. That's for sure," said Elizabeth Nunez, who described herself as a close family friend.

The young man had noticeably changed after returning home more than a year ago from his last Army tour in the Middle East, Nunez told the newspaper.

"He started smoking marijuana," spent much of his time watching war videos and slept with guns, which deeply worried his mother, who feared he might harm her and Lucero, Nunez said.

Investigators believed Martha Gutierrez was dead or gravely injured after finding evidence in her Ford Mustang indicating there had been a violent confrontation, Deras said.

 

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