Deaths of Winton couple classified as murder/suicide

Merced County Sheriff's detectives say they've concluded the deaths of a Winton couple earlier this week were murder/suicide.

Details remain unclear about what led up to the killings at 7305 Anne Circle early Wednesday morning. Sheriff Mark Pazin said it appears 48-year-old Darryl McCarthy took the life his his wife, 44-year-old Christi McCarthy, with a single shot to the head. He then turned the gun on himself.

Pazin said marital and financial troubles between the couple may have played a role. "We're just praying for the kids involved because it was one of the children that found the parents," Pazin said.

When asked whether there were indications of domestic violence in the home, Pazin said he didn't have any details "at this point in time."

Deputies responded to the scene around 8 a.m. Wednesday after a 15-year-old boy called 911, finding his mother's body in her bedroom. A 13-year-old boy was also found alive in the house. The two teens are now in the custody of Merced County Child Protective Services.

The deaths were the third homicide case involving a couple's dispute in the past month and a half. Rudy Romero, 41, was arrested last month in Merced for allegedly killing his wife, elementary school teacher Diane Romero.

Commie Britt, 42, was also arrested last month, accused of fatally stabbing 44-year-old Robert Eugene Blay.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or