Raymond and Deanna Donaca had fought foreclosure on their home and lost, but had dropped strong hints they wouldn't leave the three-level dwelling alive.
On Tuesday, Crook County sheriff's deputies went to the home east of Prineville after neighbors called with concerns that they were not answering their door, and their dogs were missing.
They walked up the driveway and smelled gas. Inside the attached locked garage, a 1981 Cadillac Eldorado sat empty, its engine running.
Then they entered the house.
They found the bodies of Raymond Donaca, 71, and three golden retrievers. Upstairs they discovered the bodies of Deanna Donaca, 69, and a fourth dog.
The family "reported to us that they'd made statements in the past that they may not leave their home alive," said Sgt. Jim Chapman.
Court records show that the couple lost the home in Central Oregon this summer following a court battle after more than a decade of financial trouble.
The couple filed for bankruptcy in 1992, 2004 and 2006 and several liens were placed against the property.
Foreclosures are up nationwide but Crook County's foreclosure rate is not inordinately high, said Judge Scott Cooper, the county executive.
"It's really sort of an anomaly," he said. "It's really tragic, really."
Raymond Donaca was a retired contractor for the U.S. Forest Service who hauled logs and cleared brush with his bulldozer, said his brother, Don Donaca who lives nearby but was not close to the couple.
"He and his wife, they sort of stuck to themselves," said Don Donaca. But he said he had heard they were struggling to keep the house.
Chapman had been to the house earlier to deliver a notice from the new owners that the couple would have to leave. Court records indicated they were to be out Monday.
"We knew that the process was in place," Chapman said. "It was the family members that made it clear to us that this was maybe their way of dealing with it."
Facing foreclosure couple commits suicide