PHOENIX -- "My brother was really the best father I've ever seen... a great son, too." Those emotional words from a woman name Rebecca Motlagh about her beloved and recently slain brother, Bruce Gaudet.
Gaudet was the 56-year-old cigar salesman and loving father and grandfather who was shot reportedly multiple times and then set ablaze inside his central Phoenix townhouse late last month.
The horrible crime has now officially been linked to the grisly double homicide that occurred in Paradise Valley four days later. In that shocking and strikingly similar scenario, a prominent couple, Dr. Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro, were also shot and then set on fire inside their upscale home.
A pack of five young people with a history of criminal drug use have now been rounded up and charged in the Shapiro killings. One of the young women publicly identified as a suspect in that case has now also been charged with theft in the Gaudet case. No murder charges have yet been filed, however, in the Gaudet matter and that investigation is still ongoing.
"He just moved to Phoenix after his daughter graduated from high school," said Motlagh, speaking about her brother earlier this week.
Gaudet moved from Las Vegas to the Valley seven months ago because of the travel demands of his job.
"Every time we see on the news, 'He was a cigar rep,' he was, but he was so much more," she said. "He was an excellent father."
Gaudet leaves behind three grown daughters and the light of his life -- a tiny granddaughter.
"He was gregarious, outgoing, charming. He loved everyone unconditionally," Motlagh said. "He was such a loving person."
Motlagh also said that her brother had seen some difficult times and once struggled with a drug addiction. But she said her brother, with characteristic gusto, had conquered the demon and had then gone on to devote himself to others facing similar problems.
"I have heard from friends and been amazed that the lives he's touched," she said. "They say, 'I owe my life to him, he picked me off the streets.'"
"I just would like to know why," Motlagh said. "But I'll probably never get an answer."
A memorial service for Gaudet will be held in Las Vegas on Sunday.