A former principal and her elderly mother have been identified as two people found dead Monday in a Fresno home in what the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office now is calling a double homicide.
Authorities confirmed the women are Jennifer DuPras, 55, and Cynthia Houk, 88.
DuPras was the principal at Washington Elementary School in Kingsburg and recently retired, Wesley Sever, superintendent of Kingsburg Charter School District, said in a letter to parents that was added to a Facebook post.
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DuPras worked for the district for more than 26 years and won awards for her work, he said.
Sever described her as “an award-winning principal, a great leader, and incredible mom, and most importantly a friend to all.”
The district said counselors will be available for students, school staff and parents.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office discovered two people dead in a home in the 6200 block of North Colonial Avenue on Monday afternoon while conducting a welfare check. The women’s injuries led investigators to believe the deaths were suspicious. On Tuesday, detectives ruled their deaths a homicide.
Deputies responded to Houk’s home after someone requested a welfare check for DuPras, saying she missed an appointment.
Investigators worked Monday and Tuesday interviewing family and friends and collecting evidence hoping to find clues about what led to their deaths.
Jennifer DuPras filed for divorce in October. Detectives interviewed Dupras’ estranged husband, Alan DuPras, but there was no probable cause to arrest him. A sheriff’s spokesman said he is not a person of interest in the case. As of Tuesday evening, no suspects were named.
DuPras retired from education at the end of the 2016-17 school year, according to the Kingsburg Recorder. She told the Recorder she planned to care for her elderly mother and looked forward to traveling to “all seven continents,” socializing and volunteering in retirement.
She described her work with Kingsburg schools as “my life for the past 27 years.”
DuPras also was the director of studies for the Alliance Fracaise of Fresno, according to the group’s website. A bio for DuPras on the website said she was raised in the Central Valley and spent three years in France as a young girl. “Her command of French comes a very close second to her charming disposition and solid professional approach to her educational commitments,” the bio said.