Crime & Courts

Saline County authorities seek murder-suicide motive

NEW CAMBRIA — A 35-year-old man apparently shot his parents to death at their central Kansas home before killing himself to end a four-hour standoff, authorities said Friday, though they were still trying to figure out why.

The Saline County Sheriff's Department identified the victims as Gary Begnoche, 64, and his wife, Ellen, 61. They died Thursday in their home on the edge of New Cambria, a few miles northeast of Salina.

Their son, Lance, of Manhattan, also was found dead in their home. Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said Lance Begnoche appears to have shot himself with the same weapon used to kill his parents, which authorities think was a .22-caliber rifle.

Authorities surrounded the home after Lance Begnoche called a relative Thursday morning and said he had shot his parents. They entered the home once communications with him stopped Thursday afternoon.

Kochanowski said Lance Begnoche didn't discuss a motive for the shootings. The sheriff said the son apparently had come to stay with his parents the previous weekend for a short time.

"We don't know what caused that or anything behind what happened," Kochanowski said.

No other people were inside the home when the shootings occurred, he said.

Neighbor Mark Shaw said that the couple's grandchildren often threw a ball or played in a sprinkler in their front yard during the summer.

"That's what makes this tragic," he said. "By all appearances, everything was happy, and the kids always looked very well cared for and clean and polite."

Another neighbor, Fred Norwood, described the couple as "very quiet, very unassuming, very nice people."