Police were notified of the deaths when the man later walked into the Pierce County Jail early Wednesday and said he fatally shot his wife and child. Pierce County Sheriff's Captain Ed Smith said deputies went to a home in the 15500 block of 20th Ave. Court East and found the bodies just before 5 a.m.
"They did see through the window what appeared to be a person in the bed. The person was non-responsive," said Smith. "They went ahead and forced entry into the home, and found two deceased persons in the master bedroom bed."
The suspect has been identified as 40-year-old Dean R. Holmes, and the victims are his 41-year-old wife, Kristi Holmes, and 11-year-old daughter, Violet Holmes, police said.
Detectives say Dean Holmes told them he shot his wife while she slept Tuesday night, then woke Violet and a friend of hers who had slept over that night. Holmes took both kids in his car, dropped the friend of at her Auburn home, then drove around with Violet in the car, Smith said.
After a while, he pulled over along a Spanaway road and shot his daughter in the car, Smith said. Dean Holmes then drove to a fast food restaurant, bought a meal, and returned home and put Violet's body in bed with his wife's, detectives said.
After several hours of attempting to clean his home and car, Dean Holmes turned himself in, Smith said.
Detectives said further investigation revealed Dean Holmes owned a home painting business had been hiding financial issues form his wife, including lying about a home they were supposed to be moving in to. Financial records with the Department of Revenue show Dean Holmes owed more than $18,000 in unpaid taxes. He was also being sued by the owners of a home in Puyallup for unfinished work.
Another client, Connie Miller, says she paid Holmes to paint her shed, then asked for a refund when the job never got done.
"And he just kept coming up with excuses," said Connie Miller. "So I called him up and I asked him, 'Dean, if you're not going to paint the shed, can I please get my money back?' "
She added if she had known he was that desperate for money, he'd have never asked him for the money.
"I would have just gave him the whole $250," she said.
Dean Holmes has been booked into jail for investigation of two counts of first-degree murder and is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday afternoon.