A murder-suicide investigation was underway Thursday as authorities found the bodies of two men in neighboring backyards in Strawberry, an unincorporated area near Mill Valley.

Marin County sheriff's detectives, who were investigating the shooting death of a resident found in his backyard at 154 Carlotta Circle about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, discovered the body of the resident next door at 152 Carlotta in his yard Thursday morning.

A rifle was found alongside the body at 152 Carlotta.

Sheriff's Lt. Doug Pittman said events that unfolded at 152 and 154 Carlotta Circle were unclear, but added there is a "high probability" the case involved a murder-suicide.

"At this point, there is no search for a suspect," Pittman said. "We have no information to believe we have any suspect at large or that the community is in danger."

Pittman said he had no information on the relationship of the two men, or whether there had been issues involving the pair. "I'm unaware of any ongoing dispute between them," he said.

"We're trying to figure out what we have here," Pittman added.

Authorities were summoned to 154 Carlotta by family members who returned home to find their relative sprawled in the backyard. No sign of trauma was found on the body by those who responded to the "man down" report Wednesday night, but an examination disclosed he was shot.


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The next morning, an investigator who went next door to 152 Carlotta found the door of the home open, and the body and rifle outside.

Lt. Keith Boyd, deputy coroner, referred all questions about the case to Pittman.

As news helicopters droned overhead and deputies canvassed the neighborhood on the hill overlooking Strawberry Village Shopping Center and Highway 101, residents expressed disbelief at the grim turn of events.

"It's really shocking," said Mark Miller of 116 Carlotta Circle.

Miller, a 63-year-old Corte Madera Safeway clerk who has lived in the area since 1978, noted the quiet neighborhood was abuzz with commotion.

"In this day and age when people have guns and they get mad, things happen," he said.