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Clark County medical examiner IDs man, woman in murder-suicide

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man and woman killed in a May 3 murder-suicide in Battle Ground.

The medical examiner said Rita G. Sizemore, 50, of Battle Ground died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. The injuries were inflicted by another person, and the manner of death was listed as homicide.

Leon A. Garcia, 54, of Battle Ground died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner listed his manner of death as suicide.

Sizemore and Garcia were found dead inside a home north of Battle Ground. Authorities have not released the nature of their relationship.

Emergency responders, including the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and North Country Emergency Medical Services, were dispatched shortly before 1:30 p.m. to the 13600 block of Northeast 319th Street.

There, emergency crews found the two dead.

Sgt. Brent Waddell said in an email last week that the sheriff’s office does not plan to release further details about the murder-suicide at this time.

In an interview with The Columbian, Sizemore’s son, Cody Sizemore, declined to speak about Garcia.

He said his mother had worked at the call center for the VA Portland Health Care System’s Vancouver Campus. This year, she took a job as an administrative lead at a nursing facility on the campus.

Patients would often stop by her office to chat. The family was surprised by the outpouring of support from the community following her death, Cody Sizemore said.

A GoFundMe page for Rita Sizemore surpassed its $5,000 goal in a single day. On the fundraiser page, many donors described her as being intelligent and compassionate, and said she was an asset to veterans.

“I was overwhelmed by how many people contacted me, and how much money was raised,” Cody Sizemore said.

His mother had expressed wanting a natural burial, a method of interment that does not inhibit decomposition. He said she was environmentally conscious, but the choice in an alternative burial was more for spiritual reasons.

The family found a forest cemetery and a secluded spot where she was put to rest in a pine casket, wearing flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers.

“We buried her ourselves, planted a tree and flowers around the site,” Cody Sizemore said. “It was the day before Mother’s Day.”


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