San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a suspected murder-suicide after a couple were found dead at their home in the Ridgemark area on Thanksgiving Day, according to authorities.

Deputies were dispatched to the 400 block of Donald Drive Nov. 26 after a family member reported the deaths, Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Taylor said.

The family member had arrived at the home of Richard and Carol Anne Dutra for Thanksgiving dinner, Taylor said. When he arrived, the front door to the home was locked and there was no response. The family member let himself in through a back door and entered the home to find Richard Dutra deceased in a chair in the front room.

There was a handgun in Dutra’s lap when he was found, Taylor said.

Deputies arrived and determined Dutra had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Taylor said. His wife, Carol Anne Dutra, was found dead in the rear bedroom, also with a gunshot wound.

Richard Dutra left a note confessing to shooting his wife and indicating he intended to commit suicide, Taylor said. “This case is still under investigation, but we are fairly certain it was, in fact a murder-suicide,” Taylor said.

Anyone suffering from a mental health crisis or who is in need of services can call the San Benito County Behavioral Health Crisis line at (888) 636-4020 or (831) 636-4020, or visit the county’s behavioral health website at The national Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at (800) 273-8255.

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