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Neighbors remember Moss Landing couple killed in suspected murder-suicide

MOSS LANDING, Calif. (KION) -- A memorial sits outside the home of an elderly Moss Landing couple, after they were killed in what the Monterey County Sheriff's Office believes was a murder-suicide.

The Sheriff's Office says they responded to the home off of Dolan Rd. after 7 a.m. Monday morning.

Commander Derrel Simpson says the husband, 89-year-old Arthur Muenzel, had called a neighbor, who then called 911.

"We got a call from another resident there saying that he had just shot his wife and that he intends to turn the gun on himself and that he would leave his front door unlocked for emergency response," said Cmdr. Simpson.

By the time deputies arrived, both Arthur and his 88-year-old wife, Hiltrud, were dead.

"My wife called and said that there were police cars and everything in the driveway. And I asked her, 'Should I come back?' And she goes, 'No, I think it's something else.' She wasn’t… Nobody was thinking it was that," said neighbor Ed Wright.

Wright lives up the street from the Muenzels, who friends affectionately called Art and Hiltie. He says the couple were very involved in the neighborhood, and even once served as managers for the mobile home park where they all lived.

"Art couldn't walk very well. He lost his balance a lot. He would still persist on getting his little bicycle out and riding around in the park. But it was always nervous for all of us, and it was nervous to watch Hiltie come outside, too," said Wright.

Wright says they were a nice couple, but they were adamant on not burdening any of their neighbors.

"The owners [of the mobile home park] had brought some food over for them, for the holidays and stuff. And then other neighbors came over with more food, and I had heard that Art just pretty much got upset and said, 'There's no more food, please. We have way too much food. We don't need to be bothered by nobody else," said Wright.

That was Friday. By Monday, both were gone.

Wright says Hiltie was recently released from the hospital after falling and breaking her shoulder.

"I think when Hiltie came home from the hospital and Art saw her in so much pain, maybe he decided to do what had happened. And I'm hoping that is how it went because it makes me more comfortable and my wife. She was very upset, " said Wright.

Friends say there was no history of domestic violence between the couple, and the Sheriff's Office said they weren't aware of any reports either.

Cmdr. Simpson says they are not ruling out any possibilities in the investigation, including a possible suicide pact.

The owners of the mobile home park were at the Muenzel's home Tuesday, looking for contact information for any close family members. They say the couple did not have any children.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Arras Wilson at 831-759-7203 or Detective Sergeant Bryan Hoskins at 831-755-3773.

This story was updated on Nov. 30, 2021 at 4:40 to include statements from neighbors and and the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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