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Father, son found in St. Petersburg apartment; murder-suicide suspected

ST. PETERSBURG — Police said they were investigating a murder-suicide after a father and son were found dead with gunshot wounds Friday afternoon.

Friends and family hadn't seen Alvaro Marin, 58, and his son, Juan Marin, 20, in two days. So Friday afternoon, a small group of relatives arrived at the Marins' home at the Granada Gates Apartments, 600 76th Ave. N, and knocked on the door.

No one answered. When the apartment manager and family members entered Apt. 102W shortly after 2:30 p.m., they found the bodies in a back room.

Both men had gunshot wounds to their upper bodies, police said. Authorities also discovered a medium-caliber revolver in the apartment. Police could not say Friday night who shot whom. Police believe they were dead for about a day or two.

"Everybody is completely torn apart. They were very loved by everybody in their family," said Jorge Restrepo, 22, a nephew of Alvaro Marin's. "We all lived like one big family. This took us by complete surprise."

Restrepo said the father and son immigrated from Cali, Colombia, around 2000. They were in search of a better life. But Juan's mother and Alvaro's wife, Rosaura Buitrago, died of cancer in 2004 at age 49, relatives said.

It was a tough period for both men, but Restrepo said he believed they had moved on.

A year later, Alvaro Marin married again to Brenda Ball of Largo. Ball had been a hospice counselor to Buitrago, she said. Ball and Alvaro divorced in 2007.

"Alvaro was a very, very kind man," said Ball, 55. "He had a great sensitivity about him. Even though he came to this country and he wasn't practicing as a doctor, this man was playing doctor to family. He was always taking care of everyone all the time."

Juan Marin graduated from Northeast High School, and enrolled in massage therapy school, Restrepo said. State licensing records show he received his license as a massage therapist in August. Police said Marin was not employed.

Police were expecting to be at the scene for several hours Friday. They also planned to interview family members, who they hope might be able to provide more information.

Researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Reach Luis Perez at (727)892-1171 or

Father, son found in St. Petersburg apartment; murder-suicide suspected 11/19/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 12:44am]
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