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Detectives say no known motive for murder-suicide in Antelope Valley

January 26, 2010 |  3:17 pm

Sheriff’s deputies are still trying to piece together why a Palmdale man took his own life after killing his sister and his ex-wife.

Lt. Patrick Nelson of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said Phillip Adams, 31, called his father at work about 7 a.m. Monday to say he had killed his sister and was planning to take his own life. The father, whose name was not released, rushed to the family's Palmdale home in the 38700 block of 31st Street East, where he found his daughter, Crystal Adams, 34, dead.

Her white Mustang was gone, and deputies said there were no gunshot wounds on her body or other apparent physical trauma. They said an autopsy would have to be completed to determine how she died.

While Adams’ father called police, his son was walking up to the home of Jennifer Darling-Wade, Phillip Adams' ex-wife, in the 45300 block of Beech Avenue in Lancaster, Nelson said. Darling-Wade, 33, spoke with him briefly when she opened the door, Nelson said. Then Adams shot her several times in front of their 9-year-old daughter.

Darling-Wade’s current husband, who was in another room, called police, who found her dead at the scene.

Adams then fled in his sister's Mustang, driving along a rural road north of Lancaster until he reached the area of Avenue E at Sierra Highway, where he pulled over to the side of the road.

Sheriff’s deputies found him soon afterward, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Nelson said he did not know why Adams shot either of the women, but noted that Adams and Darling-Wade had ongoing custody issues over their daughter.

The girl was traumatized, Nelson said.

“She’s basically just lost both parents,” he said.

-- Amina Khan