Two women found dead in cabin in California's rustic Big Sur

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

GORDA, Calif. -- Two women were found dead in an oceanview cabin, their hands bound and black plastic garbage bags around their heads, one with a Halloween mask attached to it.

The Sheriff's Department identified the two women found Friday as Abigail Tapia, 27, and Jacqueline Toves, 26, who shared an address in Long Beach. Authorities said the deaths were being treated as homicides and autopsies were scheduled, but they declined to release other information.

The women were staying at the Gorda Springs Inn here, in the Big Sur region, known for mammoth cliffs and stunning ocean views.

Hotel workers found the bodies lying side-by-side in a bed with black plastic garbage bags bound around the women's heads with duct tape.

Both women had their hands bound with tape as well, and one of them wore a grinning Halloween mask over the plastic bag, said Leonardo Flores, an employee who saw the bodies. Another feathered mask lay nearby, he said.

"On one of the women, the tape looked more loose on the neck," said Flores.

The women checked into the inn Oct. 3, owner Sherwin Miller said, renting a $220-a-night rustic cabin with a fireplace and porch. The women had declined housekeeping service during their stay; staffers entered the room after they failed to check out Friday.

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