Memorial held for murdered Paradise Valley couple at Orpheum Theater

PHOENIX - He was a handsome doctor who had a gentle touch and fierce devotion to his wife.

She was the picture of elegance and grace, a tall blonde Sunday school teacher who reminded one child of Glinda the Good Witch from "The Wizard of Oz."

Family and friends gathered Tuesday afternoon in a packed downtown Phoenix theater for a memorial service for Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro, well-to-do philanthropists in their 70s who were found tied up and burned beyond recognition on Jan. 30 in their stylish home in the affluent Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley.

Their murders are the first in Paradise Valley since 2004 and have shaken neighbors, police and the town mayor.

"We've had a tough week in the sleepy town of Paradise Valley," said Mayor Scott LeMarr, who was a close friend of the Shapiros. "We've only had around 10 homicides in the last 35 or 40 years."

The town's median home price is $1.74 million, according to a 2008 report by Arizona State University. It's home to some of the Phoenix area's poshest resorts, lushest golf courses and the homes of celebrities and pro athletes like Muhammad Ali. And when tourists land in the area, they ooh and ah at the mountains that surround it.

Just behind the Shapiros' sprawling stucco home is a picture-perfect view of Camelback Mountain, a place popular among hikers.

Paradise Valley police have released few details about the bizarre crime, including whether the Shapiros were robbed or what they think the motive might have been.

They also have declined to say whether they have any suspects or have made any arrests, issuing a statement on Monday saying only: "Progress in this case has been and is being made." A news conference was planned for Tuesday afternoon.

Paradise Valley officers went to the Shapiros' home the morning of Jan. 30 after Phoenix police found their car on fire behind a strip mall about 20 miles away. When an officer arrived at the house, she saw smoke coming from inside.

Firefighters put out fires that had been set in two bedrooms, including the master bedroom, where the Shapiros' bodies were.

Police have said the couple was tied up, burned beyond recognition and had to be positively identified using dental records. They have not said whether the Shapiros were killed by the fire or were killed by other means before it was set.

The Shapiros started their own charitable organization in 2010 and have actively supported many local civic organizations and charities.

Lawrence Shapiro had a 45-year career as a gastroenterologist, and Glenna Shapiro was the former longtime executive director at the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona, according to a website set up by their three grown children.

The Shapiros actively supported many civic organizations and charities, including the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Opera, the Phoenix Art Museum and the kidney foundation.

Their children wrote on the site that they were "shocked and saddened at the loss of our parents" and encouraged others to remember the couple on the site.

One woman who identified herself as a childhood friend of the Shapiros' daughter described her memories of Glenna Shapiro.

"As a 14-year-old girl I watched my best friend's mom and always wanted to be just like her," wrote the woman, identified only as Dru. "She was tall, thin, beautiful, and very glamorous. She was often dressed up in fancy gowns to go to a charity or social event.

"Her husband was a doctor -- tall, handsome, and had the kindest face of anyone I had ever known," continued the post. "Everything she did was elegant. I remember her always making me feel like I was important."

Another man, identified as Alexander Dominick, wrote that he used to work with Glenna Shapiro at the kidney foundation and that his daughter used to think of her as Glinda the Good Witch.

"I can't honestly imagine that such evil would touch all of us in this way, but it has, and so I have but one wish: eternal rest and peace for Glenna and Larry, and justice for the evildoers," he wrote. "May it be swift."


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