Bodies Found Bound, Burned In AZ Positively ID'ed

Published February 3, 2012 1:18AM (EST)

PHOENIX (AP) — Police on Thursday said the elderly man and woman found tied up and burned in a posh Phoenix suburb were the owners of the home where their remains were discovered.

Coroners had to use dental records to identify the couple as Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro, philanthropists who were in their 70s, because their bodies had been burned beyond recognition.

The crime has shaken Paradise Valley residents who were being told to lock their doors and pay attention to their surroundings. It's also unusual for police, who investigated the upscale town's last homicide in 2004.

The couple's sprawling home sits in a neighborhood near some of the area's nicest resorts and lushest golf courses, and has stunning views of Phoenix's Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak — areas that are popular among hikers, runners and mountain bikers.

Paradise Valley officers went to the home Monday morning after Phoenix police found a car on fire behind a strip mall about 20 miles away. The car was registered to the home's owners.

When an officer arrived at the house, she saw smoke coming from inside. Firefighters put out fires that had been set in two bedrooms, including the master bedroom, where the Shapiros' bodies were.

"This particular crime is a heinous crime and it can happen anywhere," Paradise Valley police Chief John Bennett said at a news conference Wednesday. "People in Paradise Valley hopefully understand it can happen even to them."

Investigators have no suspects and have not determined a motive, including whether the couples' stylish stucco home had been robbed.

The Shapiros started their own charitable organization in 2010 and have actively supported many local civic organizations and charities.

The Shapiros' grown children, who live in Salt Lake City but are in Arizona this week, set up a website saying they are "shocked and saddened at the loss of our parents."

The family also posted photos of the couple at their recent 50th anniversary, their children's weddings, and dressed in their finest to attend fundraisers. A family friend confirmed the website's authenticity.

Lawrence Shapiro had a 45-year career as a gastroenterologist, and Glenna Shapiro was the former longtime executive director at the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona, according to the site. The Shapiros actively supported many civic organizations and charities, including the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Opera, the Phoenix Art Museum and the kidney foundation.


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By Salon Staff

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