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Male Couple of 16 Years Murdered in Happy Valley

'It Could be a Hate Crime or Serial Killer' Say Police

Shot Dead: Gary Matson & Winfield Scott Mowder

By Jack Nichols

califhatecrime.gif - 6.25 K Happy Valley, California— Gary Matson, 50, and Winfield Scott Mowder, 40, were shot to death last Thursday inside their mobile home on a five acre plot in this small rural community 15 miles southwest of Redding. A missing automobile may, when found, yield clues to the murderer's identity.

The Shasta County sheriff's office is leaving open the possibility that the killing may have been a hate crime. Other possible murderous motives, said detectives, could include robbery or, perhaps, the deaths may form part of a serial killer's spree.

On June 20, in the same neighborhood, James "Mark" Amos, 66, was shot to death at home. Investigators are looking into a possible connection to the double homicide.

With the exception of their missing copper-colored, four-door 1987 Toyota Tercel station wagon (California license plate 3AXG635) nothing else appears to have been taken from the Matson/Mowder home.

Recognizable marks on the dead men's car include the scratching out of a Star of David on the driver's door and a dent in the roof. Neither of the murdered men was Jewish, however. There were no signs of forced entry to the couple's trailer.

Matson and Mowder had been seen by nearby relatives late Wednesday. Their bodies were discovered Thursday by one of Matson's brothers.

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Gary Matson, a celebrated horticulturist, co-founded the Redding Arboretum and the Carter House Natural Science Museum, which has since become the Turtle Bay Museums and Arboretum on the River. Matson also co-founded Redding's Certified Farmer's Market.

Winfield Scott Mowder had recently celebrated his 40th birthday as well as his graduation from Cal State Chico. He managed a section of Redding's Orchard Supply Hardware devoted to gardening.

Both men are survived by Clea Matson, the elder man's 19-year old daughter who lived with them for an extended time.

Persons who may have leads can telephone the Shasta County Sheriff's Department at (530) 245-6144 during business hours and (530) 245-6025 on nights and weekends.

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