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Wisconsin couple killed in home, no suspects identified

LA CROSSE (AP) -- Investigators were pursuing several leads but had no suspects Tuesday after a substitute teacher and her husband were found dead inside their western Wisconsin home, officials said.

LA CROSSE (AP) -- Investigators were pursuing several leads but had no suspects Tuesday after a substitute teacher and her husband were found dead inside their western Wisconsin home, officials said.

The bodies of Dennis Koula, 68, and his wife, Merna, 65, were discovered Monday at the couple's home in Town of Barre. Investigators consider the deaths a double homicide and believe the Koulas were killed in their house, La Crosse County sheriff's Capt. Kurt Papenfuss said.

Sheriff's detectives and state Justice Department agents were combing through the house Tuesday, but investigators were still waiting for autopsies to be completed at Regina Medical Center in Hastings, Minn., Papenfuss said.

Sheriff Steve Helgeson said no suspects had been identified, but he and Papenfuss declined to release further details.

Merna Koula was a substitute teacher in the West Salem School District and had been scheduled to start a weeklong assignment at the district's middle school at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Superintendent Nancy Burns said.

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When she didn't show up for work, the school's principal notified her family. The couple's son found their bodies, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

The couple has grandchildren in the district, but their parents removed them from class before the media learned of the slayings, Burns said.

"Our hearts go out to the family, to the children and grandchildren and all those who have been affected by this loss," Burns said.

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