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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

[TX] Murder-suicide of McAllen police officer Guadalupe Lozano & wife Norma Laura Gonzalez

Police rule McAllen deaths a murder-suicide
The Monitor
Victoria Hirschberg
May 23, 2006

At two gravesites in different cities Monday, two families mourned the loss of their loved ones.

In Weslaco, it was the family of 35-year-old McAllen police officer Guadalupe Lozano. In Mission, it was the family of 29-year-old educator Norma Laura Gonzalez.

Based on preliminary autopsy results, it appears Lozano strangled Norma Laura Gonzalez — the name her family prefers — and then shot himself, McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.

Shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday, Lozano called the police department’s business line and requested assistance. Upon arrival, police found the married couple of about two years dead in their North McAllen home. They had no children together, but Lozano had a 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

Gonzalez was recently promoted to the director of education at McAllen’s Sylvan Learning Center, which closed Monday for her funeral. She had worked as an elementary science teacher in the McAllen school district, said Sandra Vela, a consultant with the center who hired Gonzalez about one year ago.

"She had just a wonderful personality, very sweet, calm and professional, just so together in every way," Vela said. "She loved her job. She worked a lot of hours and she had a lot of energy."

Gonzalez was working toward a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Texas-Pan American. Vela said many of her co-workers and former students attended her funeral.

Lozano worked as a crime scene investigator and had been with the McAllen Police Department for about 61/2 years.

Many police officers and city workers from various departments attended his funeral. His brother Juan Lozano spoke of his sibling as a dedicated officer and urged his colleagues to reach out to those with problems "if they’re going through what my brother was."

"I wish he (had) looked for help," Juan Lozano said during the funeral. "But wishing is too late."

Rodriguez said the final autopsy is still pending.

"It’s sometimes difficult to understand and grasp these things and why they happen," he said.

Victoria Hirschberg covers Hidalgo County government and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4466.

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