A man and woman found dead of gunshot wounds in the bedroom of an Arlington garden apartment Wednesday apparently died in a murder and suicide, police said yesterday.

Police said that based on preliminary autopsy reports and physical evidence, they believe that Edwin James Smith, 30, who lived in the apartment at 2311 N. 11th St., fatally shot Carolyn Bull Koutsos, 30, of Silver Spring in the back and then shot himself in the chest with a .44 magnum handgun. The gun was found on the floor beside the bed on which the nude couple was lying face down.

According to Arlington police spokesman Tom Bell, the deaths apparently occured sometime last weekend, although the bodies were not discovered until Wednesday after neighbors complained of a odor emanating from Smith's apartment, and called maintenance workers who summoned police.

Bell said friends and relatives told police that the couple, who were both divorced, had been dating for more than two years and had quarrelled frequently.

Little information was available about Koutsos, who apparently lived alone in Silver Spring and was the mother of two children who lived with their father in Olney.

Montgomery County police received a report last Friday listing Koutsos as missing, according to police spokesman Bell, who said Fairfax police last week obtained a warrent charging Smith with attempted murder in connection with an unrelated incident in that jurisdiction. a

Bell said the Arlington Police Department has been deluged with calls from people interested in adopting two young Doberman pinschers and a boa constrictor, found in a glass case in the cluttered living room. Those animals, along with a piranha discovered in a fish bowl, have been taken to the Arlington Animal Welfare League.

Smith, who worked as a meat cutter, rode a motorcycle that was parked in the living room. His apartment was located on the first floor of the sprawling Lee Gardens complex across Rte. 50 from Fort Myer.