Wigan taxi boss and US wife named as victims of suspected murder-suicide tragedy in California

The owner of Pemberton Taxis and his American wife have been named as the victims of a suspected murder-suicide in California.
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Carl and Kathy Ashcroft were found with gunshot wounds at an address in the city of Rancho Mirage on Sunday.

Mr Ashcroft was pronounced dead at the scene; Mrs Ashcroft was taken to hospital but succumbed to her injuries soon afterwards.

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Carl and Kathy AshcroftCarl and Kathy Ashcroft
Carl and Kathy Ashcroft
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Police say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident as investigations continue, although family have taken to social media to dispute their version of events.

The Ashcrofts had lived in Shevington for many years before moving out to the States. More recently they had lived in Up Holland and Billinge, and while in America of late, they are understood to have been looking to move back to the Wigan area again.

Wigan Today has been in contact with Riverside County Sheriff’s Office who have issued the following statement: “On November 12, 2023, at about 2.15pm, deputies from the Palm Desert Sheriff Station responded to a report of an attempt suicide at a residence on Lyon Street, in the city of Rancho Mirage.

"Deputies arrived within minutes and located a male and a female with gunshot wounds.

Rancho Mirage in CaliforniaRancho Mirage in California
Rancho Mirage in California

"The male victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

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"The female victim was transported to a local hospital and succumbed to her injuries.

"Deputies secured the area as a crime scene and investigators from the Palm Desert Sheriff Station responded.

"The Central Homicide Unit also responded and assumed the investigation.

“The identity of those involved will not be released, pending next of kin notification.

"This case is being investigated as a murder/suicide.

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"There are no outstanding suspects and there is no threat to the community.

"The investigation is currently on-going and no further information will be released at this time.

"If anyone has information regarding this investigation, they are encouraged to call Master Investigator Navarrete with the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777 or Investigator Evans at the Palm Desert Sheriff Station at 760-836-1600.”

But Sam Thomas wrote on Facebook after the initial police report was published: “I can say as the ex-son-in-law and father of their granddaughter, that this story is not true.”

An operator at Pemberton Taxis said that it would be business as usual at the firm today and that any statements would have to come from a manager later.

Rancho Mirage is a well-to-do area of California whose past residents have included Hollywood film and music legends including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Dean Martin.