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Two arrested on suspicion of home-invasion slaying

CARLSBAD — A 37-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were behind bars today on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 64-year-old woman during a predawn home-invasion in Carlsbad, police said.

Ian Forrester Bushee and Malissa James were arrested late Monday morning in the 4800 block of Park Drive in connection with the fatal stabbing, Carlsbad police Lt. Greg Koran said.

The victim called 911 around 12:30 a.m. Monday to report that she had been stabbed at her home in the 1800 block of Outrigger Lane, according to police.

Officers arrived to find the 64-year-old woman suffering from multiple stab wounds, Lt. Jason Jackowski said.

Paramedics took her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 1:30 a.m Monday.

The victim’s name was withheld pending family notification but neighbors told Fox 5 that the victim was Marj Gawitt.

Neighbors told Fox 5 that the victim was Carlsbad resident Marj Gawitt. Photo via Facebook

Investigators believe a man and a woman broke into the woman’s home and attacked her, then fled in the victim’s vehicle, Jackowski said. Officers searched for the burglars by ground and aboard a law enforcement helicopter throughout Monday morning.

Deputies found the victim’s vehicle abandoned in the 800 block of Grand Avenue in San Marcos shortly after 5:30 a.m., San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. David Buether said.

Later that morning, the pair were arrested near the site of the home- invasion on suspicion of homicide, burglary, criminal conspiracy and auto theft, Koran said.

It was unclear why the two suspects returned to the area near the home- invasion after allegedly taking the victim’s vehicle to San Marcos.

Carlsbad police described Bushee and James as transients who are both on probation for residential burglary in San Bernardino County.

Bushee and James were arrested last April after a homeowner in Upland walked in on them burglarizing a home, according to The Press-Enterprise in Riverside.

The pair allegedly fled with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and electronics, including $70,000 worth of valuable coins in a sock that Bushee allegedly tried to get rid of.

Bushee and James were both being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, according to jail records.

“The Police Department shares the communities’ concern over such a tragic incident,” Carlsbad Police Chief Neil Gallucci said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family.”

Anyone who believes they might have additional information about the incident was asked to call Carlsbad police at (760) 931-2197.