Memorial held for Berkeley couple found dead in duplex, death still a mystery

A memorial was held Friday evening for the Berkeley couple found dead in their duplex this week.

Roger and Valerie Morash were in their 30s, with bright futures, and their friends and family are heartbroken at their loss.

"As a couple, they couldn't have been more perfect together, they were happy, they both "got" each other," friend Tom Russo told KTVU, on his way into the private gathering.

Autopsies have been performed, with no sign of foul play, and Berkeley Police say toxicology results on the couple are pending.

35-year-old Roger and 32-year-old Valerie are described as very accomplished, yet unassuming,
They met while students at MIT.

"They were modest people, they had great educations, and were clearly very talented," said Russo, who previously worked with Roger Morash.

"But they got up to do their thing every day and they were just the nicest people you'd ever meet."

Monday afternoon, a friend made the awful discovery: the couple and their two cats, dead, in different areas of their Deakin Street apartment.

No other units in the duplex were affected, but the building was evacuated in case natural gas or carbon monoxide were leaking.

"We were concerned there may have been some type of a hazmat leak," said Berkeley Police Officer Byron White, "but that's been ruled out, so we've turned it over to our homicide unit."

Homicide detectives are still classifying the deaths as suspicious.

It is an an excruciating wait for answers, for those close to the couple.

Among those attending the Berkeley gathering, sharing memories, was Valerie Morash's boss.

"All I can say is it's just as devastating loss," John Brabyn told KTVU.

runs the Smith- Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, where Valerie was a researcher.

"She collaborated with all kinds of people and helped just about everybody at the institute," said Brabyn.

Valerie had several advanced degrees and was a pioneer in her field.

"Her whole area of research was to study better methods of braille reading and tactile perception for blind people, an area of research that is really needed."

Roger Morash had his own video game company, and is described as a gifted programmer with ideas and imagination.

"He was just the guy, the happiest guy to come to work every day," recalled Russo, a former colleague.

"A lot of people want to make video games. Roger was the guy who could actually sit down and write the programming, but he saw the medium as an art form."

A "Gofundme" account is set up to help the couple's families with travel and burial expenses.
Friday evening, it had already surpassed it's goal of $10,000.

A college scholarship in the Morash's name is also being considered.

Flowers have been tucked into the gate at their apartment, along with a handwritten RIP sign that reads "Life is not fair."

"They were just people who looked at the world with a lot of wonder, and just appreciated it," said Russo sadly, "and it just breaks your heart."