updated 8/20/2005 2:06:55 AM ET 2005-08-20T06:06:55

Police responding a 911 call found the bodies of a woman and her two daughters stuffed inside a backyard freezer and the woman’s husband lying dead nearby, a gun at his side.

A typed note found on the dining room table indicating the killings may have been prompted by the family’s financial problems, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer said Friday.

San Mateo police said they received a call Thursday from a man they believe was Anthony Richards, 53, who said they would find bodies at a house on Maxine Avenue. A note on the front door directed police to the backyard, where the bodies were found, said Capt. Kevin Raffaelli.

Authorities said Richards had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and they found a shotgun nearby. The other victims were identified as Anthony Richards’ wife, Nicole, 54, and his two daughters, Alexa, 17, and Tessa, 13.

Coroner Robert Foucrault said Nicole Richards died of “blunt force trauma” to the head. The cause of the daughters’ deaths had not yet been determined.

The contents of the suicide note showed “how their financial problems really sort of mushroomed,” Manheimer said.

Authorities would not say how long the bodies had been in the freezer.

Several neighbors said Anthony and Nicole Richards had been upset over the suicide of friend who had killed himself four days earlier after separating from his wife and two daughters.

A memorial of candles, flowers and photographs grew at the family’s front door in the San Francisco suburb Friday, and neighbors and friends talked nearby.

“I just wanted to remember all the good memories,” said Lowanna Hopkins, 32, who had lived next door until a few months ago. “I know that they’re in heaven. I know the girls are. ... I don’t know what would prompt Tony to do that.”

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