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'Tarzan' Actor's Wife Was Reportedly Stabbed To Death By Couple's Adult Son Before He Was Killed By Deputies

“It’s just so sad,” a friend of the slain Valerie Ely said. “She was an unbelievable person—so vibrant.”

By Jill Sederstrom
Tarzan Actor's Wife, Valerie Ely, Allegedly Stabbed to Death By Son

The adult son of “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely allegedly stabbed his mother to death in the family’s Santa Barbara home, before he was shot and killed by law enforcement after posing a “threat” to authorities.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said Valerie Lundeen Ely, 62, died of “multiple stab wounds” allegedly inflicted by her 30-year-old son Cameron Ely, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Cameron Ely had reportedly initially tried to blame the killing on his elderly father Ron Ely, who is best known for starring in the title role in the television series “Tarzan” in the 1960s.

In the emergency dispatch audio from Tuesday night, which was obtained by The Blast, the dispatcher tells law enforcement that a young male had called 911 claiming that his “father tried to attack the mother.”

The caller then quickly hung up the phone. But when the dispatcher called back, she reported hearing someone who was “out of breath, unintelligible and crying.”

The sheriff’s office reported arriving at the home in Hope Ranch, a suburb of luxury homes outside of Santa Barbara, around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday night.

A deputy at the scene said in the audio that he was able to speak with an “elderly gentleman” later identified as Ron Ely, who confirmed to police that the suspect was his son Cameron. Ron Ely was able to tell law enforcement officers that he believed his son had driven away but was unable to communicate what car he may have taken.

Ron, 81, reportedly has a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to talk clearly, People reports.

Ron Ely G

During a search of the home and surrounding property, authorities were able to locate Cameron outside the home. The sheriff’s office said Cameron “posed a threat” and was fatally shot by four deputies.

Ron and Valerie—a former Miss Florida—wed in 1984 and had three children together, Cameron, Kirsten and Kaitland, People reports.

Both sisters reportedly have an active social media presence and have repeatedly praised their parents online. In a 2010 blog entry about the 25 things she has learned in life, Kirsten, 34, wrote that “your mom can really be your best friend” and that “your dad really can give amazing advice.”

Valerie Lundeen Ely G

“Just because you’re an ‘adult’ it doesn’t mean that mom and dad should be kicked to the curb,” she wrote. “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.”

In a 2017 post on Instagram, Kaitland, 32, honored her mom with a series of photos showing the pair happy and smiling together.

A friend of Valerie’s told The New York Post he was mad and heartbroken after hearing the news of his friend’s brutal death.

“It’s just so sad,” Dale Goodman of Dania Beach, Florida, told the news outlet. “She was an unbelievable person—so vibrant.”

Autopsies are now being conducted on both Valerie and Cameron and the investigation continues into what may have prompted the violent killing.

Ron—who also appeared in guest and recurring roles on “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island”—was taken to a hospital for evaluation after the horrific ordeal.

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