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Murder-suicide suspect left notes in Okanogan

OKANOGAN, Wash. – A woman who police say shot and wounded one woman before killing another and herself, Thursday left behind at least two suicide notes.

Notes written by Shelly L. Payton, 42, were found in the home she shared with Rene J. Menard, 49, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said.

Police believe Payton fatally shot Menard and wounded their friend, Catrina M. Fling, 39, of Riverside, Wash., before turning the gun on herself. Fling is in satisfactory condition at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane with a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen.

Rogers said investigators found the notes during a search of the Okanogan home where the shooting occurred. In them, Payton said goodbye and indicated she planned to kill herself but did not threaten anyone else.

Investigators are still trying to piece together the events that led to the shooting shortly after 5 p.m. Payton apparently arrived at home late in the afternoon, and she and Menard argued, Rogers said.

It’s unknown what they were fighting about, but neighbors said Menard and Payton had a tenuous romantic relationship that had ended a while ago. Menard wanted to move out, and apparently told that to Payton that afternoon.

Fling, a friend of the couple’s who was with Menard when Payton arrived home, attempted to intervene and, as she started to dial 911, Payton shot her in the abdomen, Rogers said.

Fling collapsed on the floor, but was able to reach dispatch and give a description of the house.

Deputies found Fling in the home’s front doorway. She was airlifted to Spokane.

Menard and Payton were found in the living room. Payton was taken by ambulance to Mid-Valley Hospital, where she died. Menard died at the scene. Rogers said Menard and Payton apparently struggled, with Menard trying to restrain Payton from behind. Payton turned the gun on herself, and the bullet traveled through her chest, hit and exited Menard, and lodged in a wall.

Deputies recovered the bullet, one of two discharged. One casing was found next to Fling and another in the living room. The gun, a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, was recovered, Rogers said.

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