Yolo County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy yesterday confirming what police had suspected was a murder-suicide on March 27. Whitney Engler, 27 — a fourth-year veterinary student at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who was expected to graduate this year — and her roommate Joseph Hein, 23, were found dead on the second floor of a duplex located on 2200 block of Glacier Drive.
Chief Deputy Coroner, Gina M. Moya, confirmed Engler’s cause of death as gunshot wounds of the head and chest with the manner being homicide. Hein’s cause of death is confirmed as a perforating contact gunshot wound of the head with manner being suicide.
The bodies were found after a seven-hour police standoff. The standoff began at 7 p.m. after an anonymous caller called the Davis Police Department (DPD) reporting two dead bodies at the Glacier Drive residence. The male caller requested a squad car then abruptly hung up, according to Lieutenant Thomas Waltz, reported by the Sacramento Bee. The DPD asked residents of the duplex to exit using mega phones. By 1:30 a.m. early Friday morning, SWAT officers sent tear gas into the building before entering at which time they found both Engler and Hein’s bodies. The DPD had two Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles at the scene.
Today the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine released a statement regarding the loss of Engler.
“She is remembered for her passion for animal behavior and finding the good in every animal,” the statement read.
Engler worked with underserved populations at Mercer Veterinary Clinic. She also fostered many animals, all of which have been reported as being in stable condition. She leaves behind three cats, two parrots, a collection of finches and an Australian Shepherd service dog.
Dean of the Veterinary School, Michael Lairmore, sent an email to UC Davis’ veterinary students with information about counseling resources available to them. Additionally, there was a special counseling session held for students on Monday with vet med counselor, Zach Ward and director Janel Lang.
The veterinary school will hold a Celebration of Life in the near future. The date has yet to be determined. A memorial Facebook Page for Engler with information about services can be found at www.facebook.com/WhitneyJoyEngler.
The Veterinary School has set up a Memorial Scholarship Fund in Honor of Whitney J. Engler and donations are currently being collected. Checks can be made out to UC Davis Foundation, School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean Or on-line at: http://bit.ly/1NAjLWJ.
Photo Courtesy UC Davis Veterinary Center & Joe Hein’s Facebook page.