Slaying of couple leaves relatives perplexed

2-year-old also was wounded in home attack
2010-03-31T00:00:00Z Slaying of couple leaves relatives perplexedBrian J. Pedersen and Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The family of a couple slain in an apparent home invasion were left trying to figure out why someone would want to kill their relatives and harm the couple's young daughter.

Husband and wife Manuel Francisco Orozco, 36, and Cynthia Orozco, 34, were found shot to death at their rented home in the 7800 block of West Spiney Lizard Place, near West Bopp Road and South San Joaquin Road late Monday, said the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

The area is on the far southwest side.

Their 2-year-old daughter was also shot and taken to a hospital. She is expected to survive, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

The couple's 10-year-old daughter, who was also home at the time, was unharmed, authorities said. She called 911 after the shooting, which occurred around 11:30 p.m., Barkman said.

There were signs of forced entry at the home, but no additional information about the incident was released.

Manuel and Cynthia Orozco were known by their family members as good parents who worked hard and were involved in their children's lives, said Manuel's cousin, Miguel Angel Orozco.

Manuel Orozco had recently started driving for a construction company after receiving his commercial driver's license, his cousin said.

He previously worked at a hospital for 15 years, he said.

Orozco enjoyed horse racing and possessed a horse trainer's license, he said. He was an assistant coach for his daughter's softball team.

They moved into the home about eight months ago, he said.

"He was loved by a lot of people," he said. "He was a good guy to everybody, outgoing, loved family, loved to eat, a very beautiful father," Miguel Angel Orozco said.

Cynthia Orozco was a nail technician at a salon, he said. "She was a very good mom. She worked for her daughters," he said.

Their 10-year-old daughter was still in shock over her parents' deaths. "She hasn't cried," he said. "She's a brave little girl because she was the one who called 911."

The rest of the family is trying to determine why someone would want to kill the couple.

"Right now, we don't know why," he said. "I knew he wasn't in trouble."

News of the shootings stunned nearby residents who said they chose the area to avoid such dangers.

"It's why I moved here," recent Michigan transplant Norm Palmer said of Critterland, a collection of custom homes on mostly untouched desert in the area. "Before I moved in I talked to a bunch of people, and they said nothing serious had ever gone on."

With street names like Velvet Ant Place and Tree Frog Trail, Critterland is the kind of place where both retirees and families with young children could live without much worry, Marie Mastin said.

"It's quiet out here; it's peaceful," said Mastin, who has lived in the development for a little more than a year.

Witnesses told investigators a white or light-colored pickup truck was seen leaving the area at the time of the shooting, Barkman said.

A man identified as a possible suspect was seen wearing a red long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, she said.

Contact reporter Brian J. Pedersen at bjp@azstarnet.com or call 573-4224.

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