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Two Chino Hills brothers found dead died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, authorities say

August 10, 2010 | 11:44 am

Two Chino Hills brothers found shot to death near their home on July 27 both died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, according to investigators with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Homicide investigators almost immediately suspected that the shooting deaths of Bryan Gonzalez, 12, and his brother, Christian, 10, could have been the result of a suicide pact, but authorities said the details of what led to the deaths might never be known.

Medical examiners from the county coroner’s office found gunshot residue on the hands of both boys. That along with the position of the bodies, the wounds and the location of the handgun used led to the conclusion that they both shot themselves, said homicide investigator Sgt. Frank Bell.

Detectives remain at a loss to explain why such young boys would commit suicide. The investigation showed that the boys "were well taken care of" and that there were no indications of trouble at home or signs of abuse, Bell said.

The brothers recently had been given minor punishment for not doing their chores -- they were restricted from using the family computer and playing video games, and were also told to write sentences, Bell said.

"That's certainly not a punishment worthy of suicide. But that's the only negative part of their routine we found," Bell said. "This is a first for me, and a first for all the guys I work with."

Authorities received a call on the morning of July 27 from a family member who found the boys' bodies in a ravine about 60 feet behind the Gonzalez home.

The family's home is in Mystic Hills near Chino Hills State Park, and just off the 71 Freeway. Several families live in homes on the ranch, which houses a construction company, a firewood operation and other businesses. The father works for one of the companies on the property, and the mother is employed at a nearby fast-food restaurant. The Gonzalez family has lived there for about five years.

The handgun used belonged to the boys' father, and detectives will try to determine whether the firearm was properly secured, which is required under state law. It will be up to the San Bernardino County district attorney's office to determine whether charges are warranted, Bell said.

"I don't know of any punishment you could give that would be worse than losing two children," Bell said.

-- Phil Willon