Daniel Brandhorst, 42, lived in a home perched on the lip of a canyon in the Hollywood Hills with his partner, Ronald Gamboa, and their adopted 3-year-old son, David. They were returning from a vacation in Boston and Cape Cod.
The couple had been together for 14 years. Brandhorst was the serious one, the lawyer and accountant, the man who dreamed of becoming a professor. Gamboa, 33, was the happy-go-lucky one, the beloved manager of a Gap store in Santa Monica, the family man with a glint of mischievousness in his eye and an ever-ready arsenal of jokes.
Both had moved from small towns--Brandhorst from Liverpool, N.Y., Gamboa from Anchorage, Ky.--to New York City, where they met. They moved to Los Angeles a few years later when Brandhorst was transferred to another office of his company, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
They loved to travel around the world, hang out with a close group of friends and visit family. They lavished attention on the blue-eyed 3-year-old they adopted as an infant and named after Daniel's brother David.
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