Originally published on Advocate.com October 14 2003 12:00 AM ET
Authorities in Monterey County, Calif., are trying to determine whether the deaths of a lesbian couple in Big Sur were the result of a suicide pact or a grisly double homicide. Autopsies were scheduled Monday on Jacqueline Toves, 26, and Abigail Tapia, 27, both of Long Beach. The two women were found dead on Friday in an ocean-view cabin with plastic garbage bags around their heads. They were lying side by side in a bed at the Gorda Springs Inn in the rustic Big Sur region, their hands bound with duct tape and the bags pulled snugly over their heads, the Monterey County Sheriff's Department said. Toves's father, Francis Toves of Agat, Guam, said his daughter tried to kill herself about two years ago. "I know she had a problem before; she tried to take her life with pills," Francis Toves told The [San Jose] Mercury News. "But she went to a psychiatrist, and I thought she was doing pretty good."
Authorities declined to release other information. "It's a very sad event," said Sherwin Miller, owner of the Gorda Springs Inn in a phone interview from his home Saturday. Set on a cliff overlooking the ocean and charging $200 to $500 a night, the hotel usually attracts a mix of hikers, cyclists, celebrities, and honeymooners, Miller said. The women checked into the inn on October 3, Miller said, renting a $220-a-night cabin with a cozy, rustic feel and a fireplace and porch. A neighbor staying in the cottage next door complained of loud pounding coming from the room the first night. The women declined housekeeping service during the entire time they were staying at the hotel, said Leonardo Flores, the employee who discovered the bodies.