GRANGEVILLE A Grangeville couple who were murdered at their home April 1 died of strangulation, officials reported Tuesday.
Police are continuing to investigate the deaths of C. Bruce and Lynn Peeples and multiple suspects are being considered, according to Grangeville Police Chief Robert E. Wilbanks.
''We don't have it nailed down yet but we have eliminated some suspects who at the beginning we thought were viable. We've got ahold of the labs, but unfortunately that's a lengthy process,'' Wilbanks said.
Although the cause of death has been determined, Wilbanks said the autopsy reports on the couple have not been completed. Additional laboratory reports are still being conducted.
The Peepleses were discovered dead in their Grangeville home April 2 after the Grangeville Fire Department responded to a fire there. Officials have confirmed the fire was arson, and Wilbanks said Tuesday it does not appear that a liquid accelerant such as gasoline was used.
''It was definitely arson. We know that for a fact because the fire was started in two different locations. No liquid accelerant was used, just things at hand like paper, etc.,'' Wilbanks said.
Wilbanks said officials are ''probably looking at more than one suspect. ... We've still got evidence coming in from the labs, reports that we need to have, but we're real confident that the evidence is going to turn up a viable suspect in the murder.''
The Peepleses owned Uncle's Pawn Shop, a Main Street business that was burned in a Nov. 18 arson fire. Wilbanks said there does not appear to be any connection between the murders and the Nov. 18 fire.
Idaho County Sheriff R.E. (Gene) Meinen said Tuesday that among the many rumors circulating in the community about the murders is one that the police are responsible. He flatly disputed that rumor.
''We did not murder these people,'' Meinen said. ''If we did it we sure wouldn't call it a homicide.''
Wilbanks said officials are still seeking information from anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious in the Peepleses' neighborhood April 1 or 2. One person has already reported seeing Bruce Peeples alive and downtown on the early morning of April 1, Wilbanks said.
The investigation is being coordinated by the Grangeville City Police, the Idaho County Sheriff's Office and the Idaho State Bureau of Investigations.