State authorities to visit Littleton in beach death case

The Associated Press
Tuesday April 02, 2002

DENVER — California authorities planned to visit Littleton this week to continue their investigation into Tuesday’s apparent double homicide-suicide near a Santa Cruz beach. 

Authorities said it appears that two 19-year-old women sat quietly as their male companion shot each of them in the back of the head with a pump shotgun. 

Autopsy results disclosed Friday show Melinda Leippe and her best friend Brenda White were shot point-blank. There were no signs of struggle, said forensic pathologist Richard T. Mason. 

David Arthur Bachman, 26, then killed himself with the same shotgun, authorities said. The trio grew up in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., but more recently lived in Littleton. 

The women were found on a bluff above Bonny Doon Beach, dressed in sweaters and cutoff jeans. Bachman was seated behind them. 

“It looks like they were cooperating,” Santa Cruz sheriff’s Detective Alan Burt said Sunday. 

Burt said California authorities will travel to Colorado this week to interview family and friends. 

Investigators hope further interviews will reveal a motive. Friends have rejected the suggestion of a suicide pact. 

White’s former Littleton roommate, Terra Tritschler, said she can’t believe the deaths were the result of a suicide pact. “She’s not that type of person,” she said. “She had plans.” 

Mason said deaths are not uncommon along the scenic coast, where he said people hope to commune with nature while they end their lives.