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Authorities investigating after 3 found dead in Idaho home

CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) -- A law enforcement officer sent to check on the welfare of three people living in a southwestern Idaho home instead found three bodies hidden on the property in an apparent homicide.

Investigators haven't yet identified the three people, and it's not yet clear how they died.

A law enforcement officer found the bodies about 11 a.m. Monday after responding to a welfare check at the small farmhouse on the outskirts of Caldwell, Canyon County Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell said.

A family member asked for the welfare check because the occupants of the home had not been seen for some time. The deputy who responded noticed some things that didn't look quite right, Dashiell said, and found the bodies after he started looking more closely around the property.

The state of the bodies indicated foul play, Dashiell said. "Three dead bodies lying side by side is kind of an indicator to us that something is wrong with the scene," he said.

The remains were partially covered, as if someone had tried to hide them, Canyon County sheriff's spokesman Joe Decker said.

The three had likely been dead at least three days based on the advanced state of decomposition, Dashiell said. Their genders and ages were not yet known, and investigators had not yet determined if the bodies belonged to the people who were living at the home.

A coroner was at the scene Monday afternoon to help investigators.

Because they didn't yet know who died, the investigators don't yet have any suspects in the case, Dashiell said.

It could take a few days for the coroner's office to determine the cause of death, he said.

"We haven't been able to see any overt trauma," Dashiell said. "But that doesn't mean it isn't present."

The case is being investigated as a homicide, though officials have not yet ruled out a murder-suicide, Dashiell said.