Millbrae couple found dead in their home

Authorities spent much of Thursday investigating what could be the double murder of a Lomita Avenue couple found dead in their home the day before.

Millbrae police and San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office deputies would not release the names of the longtime residents, but neighbors spoke openly about Fernand and Suzanne Wagner. Fernand is listed in voter records as being 78, and Suzanne as 68.

County dispatchers received a call just after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday asking police to check on Suzanne Wagner, who neighbor Herman Ponty said worked in a beauty salon, after she failed to show up for work that day.

Millbrae police went to the home at 623 Lomita Ave. and, after getting no response at the front door, looked through a window and saw Suzanne Wagner unresponsive and lying on the floor. Police went inside through an unlocked door and found Fernand Wagner in a separate area of the house, also unresponsive and on the floor.

Paramedics pronounced both of them dead at the scene.

Sheriff’s deputies were tight-lipped about the investigation, and would not say whether anything was stolen from the home, how the two were killed, or where the Wagners’ missing Cadillac was found.

Sheriff’s Office Capt. Don O’Keefe said authorities were investigating this as a double homicide.

“If it turns out that it is something else then at least we’ve covered all the bases,” O’Keefe said.

The couple’s missing black Cadillac was found later that day and was sent to the crime lab for analysis. But O’Keefe was not releasing where police found the car or in what condition it was recovered.

“We’re keeping information close to the chest for this one,” O’Keefe said.

There are no suspects, but police have gotten several phone calls and are continuing interviews with family and neighbors, many of whom were shocked that something like this could happen on their quiet street.

Ponty, who lives across the street, said Fernand Wagner has lived in the home at 623 Lomita Ave. since 1955, initially with his first wife.

He and Suzanne, Ponty said, married several years later.

Though both were very outgoing, Fernand Wagner had slowed down a bit due to regular dialysis, Ponty said.

Next-door neighbor Larry Radetich said he and Ponty are among the only neighbors on the street who are home most of the day, but they didn’t notice anything suspicious happening on Wednesday.

The French couple made annual trips back to Europe and always kept their home, shrouded with well-trimmed trees, in good condition, Ponty said.

“They were really wonderful people,” Radetich said. “[Fernand] had such a great sense of humor.”

ecarpenter@examiner.com, tramroop@examiner.com

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