updated 3/15/2009 4:30:32 PM ET 2009-03-15T20:30:32

Authorities say a man is being held for investigation of first-degree murder after his estranged wife and his stepdaughter were killed in an ax attack.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said deputies were sent to a home in the Tacoma suburb of Orting late Friday after a man called police to report that he had attacked his wife and stepdaughter.

They found the man's 52-year-old wife dead and his 33-year-old stepdaughter injured. The stepdaughter died later at a hospital.

Troyer said deputies suspect the man attacked the victims and then painted messages on the side of a shed, including "Living in hotel. Money running out. Nowhere to live."

Court records showed the wife had filed for divorce in January.

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