The shooting deaths of a tax preparer and her adult daughter in Mission Valley two months ago were a case of murder-suicide committed by the younger woman after she was caught embezzling from her mother’s business, authorities reported Tuesday.
During a roughly six-week investigation, homicide detectives determined that 34-year-old Crystal Vasquez fatally shot 66-year-old Maria Kelly of Chula Vista during an argument at the latter’s office in the 3400 block of Camino del Rio South on the afternoon of July 20 and left her body in a utility closet, according to San Diego police.
Investigators believe Kelly had confronted her daughter, who worked for her off and on, about surreptitiously stealing from the victim’s tax business over a period of at least a year, Lt. Mike Holden said.
The slaying came to light two days later, when Kelly’s husband and another of their daughters found her dead in the three-story commercial building where she worked. The family had reported Kelly missing that morning.
Upon hearing of the discovery, Vasquez returned to the office near the intersection of Interstate 8 and I-15. She then learned of the presence of surveillance cameras on the property that likely captured video footage of the killer, according to Holden.
A short time later, Vasquez, a Chula Vista resident and mother of two young children, left the building and went to a nearby business, where she fatally shot herself in a public restroom.
Forensic examinations of the pistol with which Vasquez committed suicide showed that it was the one used to kill her mother, and video surveillance showed that Vasquez was inside the office at the time, the lieutenant said. A camera in a hallway captured images of the two women entering Kelly’s office and Vasquez subsequently leaving alone, police said.
Investigators also determined that Vasquez fraudulently cashed a $5,000 check from her mother’s bank account the day after the murder, according to Holden.
–City News Service
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