Former Miss Florida Valerie Ely Stabbed to Death by Son Just Feet Away from Tarzan Star Husband Ron
Local deputies later fatally shot the suspect, Valerie and Ron's 30-year-old son Cameron Ely, outside of the couple's Santa Barbara home
To make the tragedy even more devastating, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced that the gruesome act had been committed by Valerie and Ron’s son, Cameron Ely. Cameron was later shot and killed by deputies.
A spokesperson with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBCSO) tells PEOPLE that officers responded to a 911 call placed at the Elys’ home at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
When they arrived at the scene, deputies found Valerie, 62, dead inside the home with “multiple stab wounds,” and identified the suspect as 30-year-old Cameron.
Ron, 81, who is best known for his titular role in the 1960s Tarzan television series, was home at the time of the incident but had trouble communicating with officers because of a medical condition that impeded his speech, authorities said according to KTLA.
Still, he was able to tell them that another family member was involved in the stabbing of his wife, which occurred at the exclusive Hope Ranch home.
After searching the property and surrounding area, deputies located Cameron outside the home and said “he posed a threat” which prompted four deputies to fire “their service weapons at the suspect, fatally wounding him,” according to the SBCSO.
The spokesperson said no deputies were injured during the confrontation and noted that the office is currently conducting criminal, coroner’s, and administrative investigations.
Ron also did not suffer any injuries but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. An autopsy of both Valerie and Cameron is pending.
Representatives for the Ely family did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Besides their son Cameron, Ron and Valerie, who wed in 1984, shared two daughters, Kirsten and Kaitland.
The sisters, who are both social media influencers, have yet to speak out about the tragedy but previously have spoken of their adoration for their parents on Instagram and in blog posts.
In a blog entry from 2010, Kirsten, 34, wrote about everything she has learned in 25 years, including how she approaches her relationship with her parents.
“Your mom really can be your best friend. And your dad really can give amazing advice,” Kirsten wrote. “Just because you’re an ‘adult,’ it doesn’t mean that mom and dad should be kicked to the curb. It can be quite a gift to be able to stay their ‘little girl’… it can also be horribly annoying… but try to ignore the annoying part.”
Kirsten also referred to her father as the “best dad ever” in a series of blog posts titled “Advice from Dad.”
Kaitland, 32, had similar sentiments about their mom, writing an appreciative post for Valerie in honor of Mother’s Day in 2017.
“My best friend. My world. My mom! I love you more than you will ever know…” she wrote. “Thank you for encouraging me to believe in fairytales… YOU are a modern day fairytale:) Thank you for existing. Thank you for blessing me with endless love and support. Thank you for making the world a better place… Thank you for being you:) I love you forever and a day!”
In another post, Kaitland said of Valerie, “She shines daily:) I am so lucky to have her… I love her more than air!”
Prior to marrying Ron, Valerie competed in the Miss Florida competition in 1981 while representing Miami. She went on to compete at the Miss USA beauty pageant later that year but did not win.
She was also a former flight attendant and even won Miss Airlines International, a beauty pageant for flight attendants and other airline employees, in 1980, according to The Miami News.
Ron was a veteran actor who played the role of Tarzan from 1966 to 1968.
He also starred in the iconic Seventies show Fantasy Island and the 1975 film Doc Savage: The Man of Iron and Bronze. Additionally, he hosted the Miss America pageant in the 1980s.
After getting married to Valerie, Ron took a break from acting to focus on raising their children.
More recently, he had a role in the 2014 television movie Expecting Amish.