An esteemed tantric sex and massage therapist was found shot dead along a Northern California hiking trail still holding onto the leash of his dog, who had also been shot, officials said.
Steve Carter, 67, was reportedly discovered by a hiker on the Gunsight Fire Road on White’s Hill in the San Francisco Bay Area shot multiple times about 6 p.m. Monday.
Authorities are seeking three persons of interest.
Cater was still clutching the leash of a Doberman Pinscher when he was found, the Associated Press reported. The dog had also been shot but survived and was turned over to the Marin Humane Society, police told the AP.
Carter and his wife, Lokita Carter, founded in 1999 the Ecstatic Living Institute, teaching and participating in countless training sessions and seminars across the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica, and released DVDs on the subject.
“The devastating news is that my beloved husband of 17 years, Steve, was murdered in cold blood… while walking our dog on a popular hiking trail in Fairfax, Marin County. He was shot dead,” Lokita wrote on a GoFundMe page originally created to offset expenses to fight the stage 4 breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in June.
The pair had relocated to Costa Rica to “rewire” and moved back to California so Lokita could undergo treatment after doctors discovered the cancer.
“I am beyond devastated to face this situation while already going through intensive breast cancer treatment,” Lokita wrote.
Police were searching for Carter’s car, a silver 2003 Volkswagen Jetta with the California license plate 6PPG662, which was missing from the scene, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Anyone who spots the vehicle should consider the occupants armed and dangerous, the AP wrote.
Investigators also released surveillance footage of two of the three persons of interest in the murder and robbery who were seen near the trail where Carter’s body was found, the AP reported.
The video, taken from a convenience store in Fairfax, shows a long-haired man wearing a black hat and a jacket and a woman with dirty-blond hair wearing dark clothing.
Carter's friends were devastated by the news.
"He was just one of the most generous, fun-loving kind spirits you'd ever meet," Celeste Hirschman, 43, told INSIDE EDITION. "He was so influential in teaching a lot of people to be connected to themselves, to celebrate life and sensuality and sexuality."
Hirschman first met Carter ten years ago when she took a class taught by the couple.
"I think you could really tell how much they loved each other," she said, noting she first learned what happened when her husband broke the news.
"I called him to check in and he just told me 'Steve was shot.' I was just in shock, he was just the nicest person on the planet, the last person you would think this would happen to; he didn't have a violent bone in his body... he brought joy to people's lives."
Other loved ones took to social media to express their grief.
“This seems unbelievable. Steve and Lokita had recently moved back to California from Costa Rica so Lokita could receive treatment for breast cancer. What is going on? Lokita diagnosed with cancer … and now Steve shot in Marin,” Crystal Morris wrote on Facebook. “I am reeling … Steve was an amazing man, tantrica, yogi, friend and teacher. He will be missed.”
Suzanne Wagner echoed Morris’ sentiment, writing: “I am in shock and grieving about the senseless loss of such a wonderful loving, kind, man for no particular reason.”
“His senseless and shocking death is incomprehensible to all of us, and this time is the most difficult,” Lokita wrote on the fundraising page. “Please hold Steve and me close to your hearts and in your prayers. I am shattered, shocked, enraged and so so sad.”