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Several factors were at work in Sunday morning's deadly motorcycle collision southwest of Ceres that took the lives of four persons: speed, riding in the dark without headlights and no helmets.

The California Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a crash of two dirt bikes that occurred between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on private property near Crows Landing and West Taylor roads. Each dirt bike had been carrying a couple, all declared dead at the scene on a dirt road coming off of a canal bank.

The bodies were discovered by a neighbor at approximately 8:15 a.m.

Killed were Modesto couple Thomas "Ed" Moore, 33, and Kelly Moore, 30; and riding on the other bike were Ed Moore's sister, Cynthia Prickette, 29, and her boyfriend, Michael Stokes, 33, both of Ceres.

Apparently the Moores owned a mobilehome on the property while Prickette lived in another unit on the premises.

All four victims were found approximately 10 feet from each other with their dirt bikes, a 1997 Yamaha Motocross belonging to Stokes and a 1990 Honda CR Motocross, showing signs of damage. Investigators believe that the two vehicles hit at a high rate of speed.

"They were coming from opposite directions," said CHP Public Information Officer Tom Killian. "It was not traditional head on. It looks like it was more of a sideswipe going opposite directions. A little bit more left to right and they would have hit head on."

State law only requires that riders use helmets and headlights while on public roads.

CHP officers learned about the identity of the victims after going to one of the trailers and a boy answered the door.

Prickette, who was a divorced mom, leaves behind two children: Kenneth, 10 and Liam, 6.

The Moores leave behind four children ranging in age from 14 to 5: Corey, Brianna, William and Logan. They had been married 15 years. Mr. Moore had been employed at a Dublin auto transmission repair facility.

Prickette, was a certified nursing assistant employed at Kindred Hospital in Modesto, had been dating Stokes for about four months.

Stokes, who lived in a Ceres apartment, had been previously employed as a mechanic.

The CHP estimated that the crash occurred within the two-hour window based on neighbors' reports of hearing the vehicles out in the orchard.

Killian said that none of the victims appeared to have been drinking. A toxicology report will determine if the victims were under the influence.

A memorial service will take place Thursday at Foursquare Gospel Church, 510 Burney Street, in Modesto for the Moores and Prickette.