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Two People Dead in Hope Ranch Identified

Sheriff's Deputies Find Homicide Victim and Fatally Shoot Suspect

Santa Barbara Sheriff's officers are investigating the death of a woman in Hope Ranch; a suspect was killed by law enforcement at the scene. | Credit: Paul Wellman

[Update: Oct. 16, 3 p.m.] Sheriff’s officials identified the woman killed last night as Valerie Lundeen Ely, who had been stabbed. She was 62 years old and the wife of Ron Ely. At the scene, deputies determined the suspect in the homicide was the couple’s son, Cameron Ely, 30, who was found outside on the grounds and was shot by officers.

Neighbors reported the night was frightening. They first received a text message from county officials telling them an “incident” was occurring and to shelter in place, while police cars and sirens went back and forth along the street. They next heard gunshots, then received a second message saying a suspect had been located and detained.

[Original Story] Two people died in Hope Ranch Tuesday night, one an apparent homicide victim, the other the potential suspect.

Residents of Santa Barbara’s seaside community of Hope Ranch were told to shelter in place last night after a woman was found dead in a home at 4141 Mariposa Drive. A 9-1-1 call of a family disturbance had been made at 8:15 p.m., Sheriff’s Lt. Eric Raney said. The woman’s body was found when they entered the home; a disabled elderly man living there was also located, apparently unharmed, and taken to the hospital for evaluation.

As deputies searched the home and the grounds, they caught up with a suspect on the property and attempted to “gain verbal control,” Raney stated in a press release. The suspect “presented a threat” and several deputies shot at and killed him. No deputies were injured, but they are on administrative leave, as is usual after an officer-involved shooting, said Raney.

Multiple media reports state the homeowner is Ron Ely, the star of the 1960s television show Tarzan, who is now 81 years old.

Investigators continue to work the homicide and crime scene, and identify the relationships of the people in the house. This report will be updated as new information becomes available.

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