RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif., March 26 -- The bodies of 39 young men have been discovered in what appears to be a mass religious cult suicide in an exclusive Rancho Santa Fe mansion, just north of San Diego. San Diego County sheriff's deputies say the bodies were found throughout the $1.6-million mansion where deputies were summoned today (Wednesday) by an anonymous caller.
Sheriff's Cmdr. Allen Fullmer says the men, who were between 18 and 24 years old, were all wearing dark clothing and had their hands at their sides. Officials say there were no visible signs of trauma or blood. Authorities were called to the two-story, Spanish-style home just after 3 p.m PST because of a reported mass suicide. Deputies entered the mansion through an unlocked door and smelled a pungent odor, then backed out after counting 39 bodies. Homicide investigators say they're tracking down the source of the call, but they declined to say whether it came from the home. No one was found alive in the home. The mansion had apparently been leased to a group of people last October, but it was not immediately known who they were. Fullmer says the victims will be identified by the San Diego County Coroner's Office. Media reports say the house was put up for sale last summer, but prospective buyers were chased off by a group of people apparently engaged in some sort of religious-cult type meeting. Neighbors in the area told reporters it was common knowledge that members of a religious cult were living in the mansion. ---
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