By Vik Jolly And Salvador Hernandez

Orange County Register
May 29 2008

Doting, devout and protective family, found wearing all black.

The inseparable twin sisters. The doting parents. A cautious family.

Four days after five members of a San Clemente family were discovered
dead -- all dressed in black -- a portrait of a religious, loving
but overprotective clan began to emerge through interviews with those
who knew the Ucars.

The Turkish Armenian family quietly went on with its life inside a
gated neighborhood overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

But the gruesome discovery of decomposing bodies found by authorities
called by a relative who shattered a window at the family's Sea
Point Estates home to gain entry has reverberated from Orange County
to Istanbul.

Manas, 58, and Margrit Ucar, 48, were immigrants from Turkey, whose
ancestors perished in the mass killings of Armenians upon the breakup
of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s.

Authorities on Wednesday said the couple was found on the floor
near a closet of their home with gunshot wounds. Two guns were found
near their bodies. One of the guns was registered to Margrit Ucar,
and investigators are still looking for records on the second gun,
Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Erin Guidice said.

The Ucars' twin daughters, Margo and Grace, both 21, were found lying
in a bed in the first floor bedroom, Guidice said. Margrit Ucar's
mother, Fransuhi Kesisoglu, 72, was sitting in a chaise lounge in
the room.

No bullet wounds were found on the other three bodies, nor has a cause
of death been determined, Guidice said. Toxicology results are due
in about six weeks. Officials say they do not believe any outsiders
are involved in the incident that has left the five dead.

Authorities wouldn't say if there was a note left behind.

Meanwhile, interviews showed that the twin Ucar sisters took all
their classes together at San Clemente High School. They were not kids
who skated or hung around playing with other children in their hilly
neighborhood, but the twins and their mother did swim frequently at
the community pool.

Manas Ucar, a consulting engineer and a former assistant professor
at Syracuse University who came to the states in the 70s, proudly
spoke of his daughters going to medical school. Their mother earned
her medical degree from Turkey but could not practice in the states.

The sisters graduated high school in 2004. According to a UC San
Diego spokeswoman the twins finished the requirements for a bachelor's
degree in biology ahead of schedule in January.

Manas Ucar was described by one friend of the family as an extrovert
who loved to chat.

Most of all, he and his wife doted on their daughters, acquaintances
said. Margrit Ucar had lunch almost daily with the twins when they
were in elementary school. The family bought or rented a house in
San Diego when the twins left for medical school.

Laguna Niguel resident Peggy Rosen said her husband, an attorney,
cross-examined Manas Ucar during a civil trial at which Ucar was an
accident-reconstruction expert for the defense more than a decade
ago and their families became close.

"They adored their children and each other," Rosen said in an
e-mail. "Manas was very vivacious and fun loving. He was a brilliant
man. . . a very kind man. He worked very hard for his family."

Margrit, Rosen said, was more reserved. A devout Christian, she talked
about Jesus and prayed a lot, she said.

"This has been weighing on me," said Rosen, 55, who works in her
husband's law office and does interior design. "I have been thinking
about this and wondering who did this. Did somebody flip out? The
young girls, they had their whole life ahead of them."

Margrit ran a jewelry boutique at Fashion Island for a few years. Rosen
recalled the Ucars telling them that she, at times, carried a gun
for protection.

The cordial Ucar family also was very private and Sea Point neighbors
didn't see a whole lot of them.

"We had a hard time to get (the twins) to play," said Tami Adams,
50, who lives in the neighborhood.

Antranik Zorayan, a local community leader, said the family came
to worship at St. Mary Armenian Church in Costa Mesa on major
holidays. Zorayan said the news had traveled to Istanbul, where he
spoke with his brother about it.

The community awaits the outcome of the investigation but he doesn't
believe that the deaths are a murder suicide, Zorayan said.

"At this time I am not convinced," he said. "I can't explain the
feelings I have."