Officials: Missing couple found dead near Big Bear-area hiking trail both died of suicide

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Sheriff's homicide detectives responded to Fawnskin to investigate the deaths of a man and a woman on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department)

Sheriff’s homicide detectives responded to Fawnskin to investigate the deaths of a man and a woman on Feb. 3, 2020. (Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

The deaths of a man and woman found along a trail near Big Bear Lake after they were reported missing earlier this year were ruled a double suicide, officials said Wednesday.

Ria Gabriella Williams, a 27-year-old Santa Ana resident, and her boyfriend, 29-year-old Paul Arthur Stockwell Jr. of Big Bear, were found Feb. 3 about half a mile up the Cougar Crest Trail, on the north side of the lake.

At the time, authorities did not reveal any information about what sort of injuries the couple had suffered.

Autopsy results revealed Wednesday showed Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Stockwell also died of a gunshot wound, and although coroner’s investigators were unable to determine his manner of death, detectives found evidence consistent with him also committing suicide, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

A gun recovered at the scene was registered to Stockwell, deputies said.

The pair was last seen in Big Bear on Jan. 29. A coworker reported Williams missing two days later when she failed to show up for work, and Stockwell’s father later reported him missing.

At the time, neither missing persons report indicated any suspicious circumstances or reason to suspect foul play, investigators said.

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