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Detectives investigate apparent double homicide in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa police launched an investigation into an apparent double homicide Saturday after discovering the body of a man in a Montgomery Village house and hours later finding a slain woman in a home on the city’s west side.

Police said they have a person in custody on unrelated charges and that there was no remaining public safety risk in the case, said Sgt. Josh Ludtke.

“At this point, we are looking at a person of interest that has direct ties to both victims,” Ludtke said.

That person is Dalton Carlson, 32, who was arrested Friday morning on drug and other charges at the west side home where the slain woman was discovered Saturday afternoon, Ludtke said.

Carlson’s bail had been set at $5,000 but was revoked Saturday after the bodies were discovered. Ludtke declined to provide the victims’ names or to say what ties Carlson had to them, citing the ongoing investigation.

Shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday, officers responded to a call to help an injured person in a home in the 2600 block of Valley Center Drive, less than a block from the Montgomery Village shopping Center on the city’s east side.

Friends of the victim had gone to the home to check on his welfare and found his body, Ludkte said. When officers arrived, they summoned detectives to begin an investigation.

A short time later, around the lunch hour, officers located the man’s vehicle on the west side of town in the area of Glenbrook Avenue and Heather Drive.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., a resident called police to report the discovery of a dead woman in a single-family home in the 1500 block of Glenbrook Drive, a residential area near West Third Street and Stony Point Road.

Detectives were called in “based on the environment of that scene,” according to a press release, which described the deaths as homicides but did not say how the two people are suspected to have died.

“All I can say is it appears to be, in both case, pretty violent,” Ludtke said of the manner of death.

Ernie and Betty Engle live next-door to the Glenbrook home where the woman was found dead Saturday. They said there was police activity at the home on Friday morning and again on Saturday around noon.

Betty Engle said she was sitting in her kitchen Friday morning when she spotted a man who she didn’t recognize as her neighbor wearing black clothing poking around on the roof of the next-door house.

“‘What is he doing?’ I said to myself,” Engle said. “He just wasn’t looking right.”

Police and firefighters responded and Carlson, who was “acting irrationally,” was taken into custody, Ludtke said. He was arrested on suspicion of being on drugs and violating a restraining order, Ludtke said.

When asked where he lived, Carlson gave officers two addresses - the same ones where the homicides took place, Ludtke said.

Police at that time had no reason to suspect he had been in the Glenbrook home and weren’t able to gain entry, Ludtke said. He said it’s “certainly possible” that the woman was already dead inside the home at that time.

“We don’t know when she was killed,” he said. “We are working on that timeline right now.”

Around noon Saturday, the Engles watched as authorities returned to the Glenbrook home for the report of the woman’s body. Later, they saw a woman they assumed to be a relative standing outside “sobbing hysterically,” Betty Engle said.

Ernie Engle said his neighbor’s name was Dalton. The man had multiple outdoor security cameras, grew marijuana in the home and was “obviously concerned about somebody messing around with his property,” Engle said.

Police on Saturday afternoon towed a silver Hyundai sedan that was parked at the end of Heather Street for at least a day. Neighbor Ken Nichols said he called police about it and when officers came to tow the vehicle away, an officer indicated it was “involved in a double homicide,” Nichols said.

He said officers were reviewing surveillance video from his home and those of other neighbors in an effort to learn more about the vehicle and its occupants, Nichols said.

Ludtke said the Hyundai belonged to the male victim who lived in the Montgomery Village home, but he declined to identify the victim.

“Detectives are aggressively working leads to determine what happened in both cases,” the release said.

Both homes were blocked off with yellow crime scene tape at about 4:45 p.m. But the Valley Center Drive home had the larger presence of crime scene investigators, plus about four police technician vans or larger vehicles. The Glenbrook Avenue home had only two squad cars parked out front.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 707-521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com.

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