Deakin Street deaths: Autopsies complete but cause still unknown

Authorities still have no information as to the reason a young Berkeley couple and their cats died this past week in their home on Deakin Street.

First responders in the 3000 block of Deakin Street on Monday. Photo: Sean Rouse

Authorities still have no information as to the reason a young Berkeley couple and their cats died this past week in their home on Deakin Street.

Roger Hanna Morash, 35, and Valerie Morash 32, were found dead Monday in their apartment at 3028 Deakin. Their two Singapura cats, Minsky and Malloc, were also dead.

The bodies were found early Monday afternoon but no time of death has been released. According to one friend, they died Sunday, but this information has not been confirmed.

The Berkeley Police Department has classified the deaths as suspicious because the cause has not been determined, Officer Byron White, a BPD spokesman, said this week.

White said both autopsies had been completed as of Wednesday, but the coroner’s report was not yet done. Depending what sort of tests and analyses are needed, an answer could be weeks or months away. BPD has said the case remains a mystery.

White said the coroner’s office did remove the remains of both cats, but he did not know whether the office planned to do a necropsy on the animals.

A representative from the coroner’s office said Thursday that BPD has a press hold on the case, so no information could be released to the public.

White said, in response to questions that have been raised by some in the community, BPD did get a noise complaint at the unit on Sept. 22, 2015, “about the sound of generator running as well as the smell of burning rubber.”

“In that call for service, a police officer later contacted the complainant about the issue but the generator was no longer running,” he said.


Other city of Berkeley staff has not received any complaints about the unit, he added.

According to Roger Hanna Morash’s Facebook page, he was the founder of a gaming company called Glug Glug. Valerie Morash was a researcher at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco.

Friend Dylan Jones described Roger on Facebook as “a delightful member of the indie game community” in the Bay Area, and wrote, “their deaths are a shock to our core.”

Friends of the couple are raising money to offset family costs related to the funeral. Contributions can be made online. As of publication time, more than $14,000 had been raised.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.com. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.