Body found near fire where man disappeared after fight with wife

SAN DIEGO -- A man's body was found about 50 yards from a rural East County home that was consumed in flames Saturday night after a couple had some kind of "domestic dispute," officials said.

The man appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The Medical Examiner's Office took the body after it was discovered around 9 a.m. Sunday morning. That office will officially determine the cause of death and have the man identified.

Investigators did not immediately say whether the discovery concluded their search for the man who went missing after a fire at his Ramona home Saturday night.

The fire started around 5 p.m. at the house on Black Canyon Road, according to Cal Fire. By 6 p.m., crews had gone into "defensive mode" for the safety of firefighters, letting the blaze burn itself out and focusing on protecting nearby buildings.

Officials said a family of three lived inside the house. A woman and young child were reportedly not inside when the fire started and were being assisted by Red Cross finding a place to sleep. Cal Fire told FOX 5 at the time that the woman's husband was unaccounted for, but that he was likely inside the home at the time of the fire.

“We’ve scoured the perimeter of the structure and were not able to find that person anywhere around the house, so we’re assuming he was inside during the time of the fire," Battalion Chief Randy Scales said. “We know that there was a domestic dispute involved just prior to the report of the fire starting."

Investigators say the cause of the fire has been deemed "suspicious" and the San Diego County Sheriff's Bomb/Arson unit was called to the scene.

A deputy stayed at the scene overnight for "scene security" until the investigation resumed Sunday morning.

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