Police say Hanford man calls 911 to report killing his wife

FRESNO, Calif.

Hanford police arrested 50-year-old Todd Pate Monday afternoon. He now faces murder charges for killing his wife, Melanie Pate, 42. She was found dead in her backyard pool.

Neighbors tell Action News they knew the couple was in the middle of a divorce, but they never thought Todd or Melanie could become violent.

Now police say they are piecing together evidence, hoping to figure out why Todd killed his wife. Neighbors are still struggling to comprehend what happened.

We're sorry that it happened, that it had to happen," said Arman Anzures. "It shouldn't have happened."

Che Love also lives near the Pate family. He said, "for the short time I was here, this neighborhood's very quiet, there's nothing, nothing over there at that house."

But police say the house is where Todd Pate slit his wife's throat. "The Hanford Police Department received a call from a male subject, who identified himself as Todd Pate, stating that he had just killed his wife," said Detective Richard Pontecorvo in a news briefing.

Melanie Pate was found floating in the family pool shortly after the emergency call. It's not yet clear whether Todd called 911 immediately after the incident.

"It's a small community, she's well known in the community, as he was. It's a tragic incident here in this neighborhood," Pontecorvo said.

Police detectives are sifting through evidence collected at the home, including the murder weapon.

Investigators are not saying where on the property Melanie was killed but they collected evidence from inside and outside the house.

Neighbors said they had no reason to think the divorce Melanie and Todd were going through would lead to murder.

Few other details are being released by investigators. But they say they're developing information that should point out the exact motive behind the killing.

Melanie ran an in-home daycare at the house. The couple also has two children. Police say no one other than Todd and Melanie was home when she was killed.

Friends have planned a vigil for Wednesday to remember Melanie. It will start at 8:30 pm. at the Bob Hill Youth Complex in Hanford. People are encouraged to wear black and orange.

Neighbors say the youngest of the couple's two children lived in the home. Police say he's now staying with extended family.

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