LOVE COUNTY — Authorities are investigating the slayings of a 78-year-old Simon man and his 80-year-old sister, whose bodies were discovered late Friday night near a fence they were repairing on their rural property.

Love County Sheriff Joe Russell said Saturday Thomas (Sonny) Culwell and Marion Almenia Culwell were found lying near their pickup about 10:30 p.m. Russell said both died from apparent gunshot wounds. Their bodies were sent to the state medical examiner's office for autopsy.

Russell said the bodies were discovered by area coon hunters after the woman's disabled son had become worried his mother and uncle had not returned home.

"He said they had gone out to fix some fence. When they didn't come back he got worried and called some buddies who were out coon hunting. He asked them to search for them. He told them (hunters) the area they were suppose to be in," Russell said.

The sheriff said the two senior citizens were found about 1 1/2 miles from their rural residence in the area where they had said they would be working.

Shortly after the pair was discovered, Russell said he requested the assistance of the OSBI.

Late Saturday afternoon Jessica Brown, OSBI Public Information Officer, confirmed the state agency had labeled the case a "double homicide."

Asked if the fact the family's pickup was at the scene indicated the slayings were not motivated by robbery she said, "It's too early. There's too many factors that are unknown to say what the motive was."

Brown said agents had been in Love County throughout the day and had done "lots of interviews." She indicated autopsy results could provide key information in the case. "We expect the medical examiner's report — cause of death — will be very informative and very helpful."

Brown urged anyone with any kind of information regarding the slayings to call the OSBI hotline at (800) 522-8017.

"We want anyone who knows anything to call," she said.

Various sources voiced their shock over Culwell's and his sister's deaths. They were described as "the nicest people," "they never did anything to anyone," and "very kind," and "quiet, until you got to know them."

Culwell was a security guard. His sister was a retired teacher's aide. Despite their ages, both were reportedly "very spry" and had remained actively working on their rural property.