Ryan Chartrand

Following an extensive review of the recent deaths of three San Luis Obispo residents, the San Luis Obispo Police Department has concluded that John Rivard killed both his wife, then his daughter before killing himself Oct. 3.

The police department held a press conference Thursday to announce its findings and issued a report soon after.

Police responded to a 9-1-1 call made by Rivard on Oct. 3 and arrived at the scene of 1770 Frambuesa Drive to find the bodies of John Rivard, 48, his 44-year-old wife Barbara and his 7-year-old daughter Olivia. The Rivards’ two other children were unharmed.

Police announced Thursday that they have determined that Barbara’s head was severely beaten with a flashlight by John while she was in Olivia’s room. He then shot and killed Barbara while using a pillow to muffle the gunshot, police said. He reportedly later did the same to his daughter and then shot himself.

The San Luis Obispo County Coroner concluded that Barbara and Olivia each died from a single gunshot to the head, though the trauma that Barbara sustained to her head was a contributing factor in her death.

Police said that it remains unknown whether Olivia and the two other Rivard children witnessed the murders, though they were found at the scene in their respective bedrooms. The toxicology report for John Rivard is still pending as well.

“Although we are confident about the sequence of events, and the fact that John Michael Rivard is responsible for these murders, we do not know why he committed these senseless acts,” Lt. Bill Proll said in a press release.

“What is clear is that this tragedy has deeply affected this community, including and especially the young schoolmates of Olivia. More importantly, there are two young surviving children who deserve to grow up with some sense of normalcy, if that is possible.”

The two children are being cared for by relatives, Proll said.

The two-week investigation was a combined effort by the San Luis Obispo Police Department, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

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