By J. STEVEN DILLON
Hancock County authorities on Wednesday released the names of the two people who died in Monday’s murder-suicide on Palm Drive, but said they have no explanation for why the deaths occurred.
“We may never know,” Sheriff Mike Heldman said. “We have questions. But no one else was there.”
Heldman said investigators believe that David Sayarath, 30, of Bluffton, shot his cousin, Ashley M. Sayarath, 19, two times, then turned the gun on himself sometime before 7:18 p.m. Monday.
The shootings occurred in a bedroom at 605 Palm Drive, a Liberty Township house where Ashley resided with her parents.
An autopsy determined that David Sayarath died of a single gunshot wound.
Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Jason Seem said a 9mm handgun used in the shootings was purchased by David Sayarath earlier Monday at a Findlay gun shop. It was recovered at the scene.
David Sayarath’s car, which was parked in the driveway of the Palm Drive house, was impounded but no evidence was recovered from it.
The exact time of the shootings is unknown. No neighbors reported hearing shots, Seem said, and the best estimate is somewhere between 3 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Monday.
Ashley’s father was out of town on business Monday. Her mother arrived home from work around 6 p.m., did some chores, and eventually discovered the two bodies in an upstairs bedroom.
“She had heard some music or a video game or something and went upstairs,” Seem said.
Seem said there were no signs of a struggle in the bedroom, and neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be involved.
Ashley Sayarath, a 2016 graduate of Findlay High School, was an honor roll student who had worked at a local restaurant. She had skills as a programmer and had designed several computer games that she sold. She was planning to attend Owens Community College.
According to his family, who live in Findlay, David Sayarath was a graduate of McComb High School and recently earned an associate degree from Owens Community College in computer programming.
Investigators said David Sayarath was friendly with Ashley’s family and would occasionally visit their home. He had been expected to visit Monday evening, but apparently arrived early.
Seem said David Sayarath had no criminal history and there was nothing to prevent him from purchasing a gun. Some family members suggested David Sayarath may have been depressed about losing his job recently, but he had not been treated for any mental illnesses.
Heldman said the investigation is still open, and suggested someone could still come forward who may help explain what happened. But he also said the motive could remain undetermined.
“We’ve gone through a lot of possibilities the past several days, but at this point there’s nothing but pure speculation,” he said.
A funeral service for David and Ashley Sayarath is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Lehtomaa Funeral Home in Findlay. Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery.
The murder-suicide was the first handled by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office in 17 years. In 1999, deputies responded to a domestic call in Benton Ridge but arrived too late to stop a man from shooting his wife, then taking his own life.