Wednesday Jan 17 2007
Update: Three found dead in Broadstone home
By: Gloria Beverage
Folsom Police now believe three people found dead inside a Wembly Court residence last Wednesday morning were the victims of a murder/suicide. Folsom Police officer Michelle Beattie explained officers received a call shortly after 7 a.m. from a co-worker reporting two staff members had failed to show up for work. When they arrived at the residence, officers saw the body of a woman on the floor of the hallway. They forced entry into the home and found two other bodies. By late Wednesday afternoon, Folsom Police reported they had found the bodies of two adult women and a man. All three had been shot to death. It appears the man sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Beattie said. No suicide note was left. Folsom Prison Public Information Officer Lt. Dan Johnson confirmed two of the victims were Folsom Prison employees Bonnie June Lathum, 56, and Laurence Howard Moll, 57. The third victim was Lathum's 31-year-old daughter, Teresa Faye Contreras. A resident of Southern California, she had apparently been living at the residence for the past month. A medical technical assistant at Folsom Prison, Lathum had worked for the Department of Corrections for 19-1/2 years. Although her primary responsibility was monitoring the health of the inmates, Lathum was also a police officer, Lt. Johnson explained. "She was one of the first-responders when we had an incident," he said. He described Lathum as very outgoing and involved in union type activities. Lt. Johnson also thought of her as the matriarch of the medical technical assistants working at both prisons. "People looked to her for advice," he said. In addition to co-workers, who were understandably rattled, Lt. Johnson said many of the inmates were upset to hear of Lathum's death. She is survived by a daughter, Katie Cortez. Moll had worked as a correctional officer for the Department of Corrections for 21 years. He had recently transferred from California State Prison, Sacramento to Folsom Prison, Lt. Johnson said. "He was very polite," he said. "I never heard a bad word said about him." Lathum and Moll had been together for about six years. "They called each other their significant other," he continued. "Apparently they had known each other for 20 years, but had only been together for a few years." Only a sister is listed as next of kin in Moll's employment file. Prison inmates were placed in lockdown on Wednesday to allow staff time to focus on their loss. "Things are a little hectic, but we have a good staff who are handling the horrible events," said Folsom Prison Warden Matthew Kramer on Thursday. "Our crisis response folks from the department have done an excellent job." Although she wasn't very close to the family, neighbor Christine Rader was shaken by the tragedy. "We always felt very safe on the court," she said. "I'd let my kids go outside and play for a couple of hours and not worry about them." Folsom's Animal Control Officer Cindy Walden picked up the couple's two Brittany Spaniels early Wednesday morning. "They've been kenneled and will be kept safe until the family lets us know what they want to do," Walden said. Investigators are continuing to talk with family and neighbors in an effort to determine the motive behind the murder-suicide. The last homicide in Folsom was in 1999.