An elderly man in Washington is suspected of fatally shooting his wife before killing himself because they could not afford to pay her high medical bills.
The couple has been identified as Brian Jones, 77, and Patricia Whitney-Jones, 76, reported the Lynden Tribune.
According to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Jones called 911 around 8.23am on Wednesday and told the dispatcher: ‘I am going to shoot myself.’
He said he had left a note for the Sheriff with information and instructions, a press release stated.
The dispatcher tried to keep Jones on the phone, but he eventually hung up, with his last words being: ‘We will be in the front bedroom.’
When deputies arrived at the home on the 6500 block of Timmeran Lane in Ferndale about 15 minutes later, they set up a perimeter in case of an ‘active shooter’.
A crisis negotiator tried contacting Jones using a telephone and a megaphone for nearly an hour, but to no avail.
That’s when deputies deployed a robot-mounted camera to search the house and found Jones dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
His body was lying next to the body of Whitney-Jones, also found dead from a gunshot wound.
The Sheriff’s Office told the Lynden Tribune that the next of kin have been notified and that the case is being investigated as a murder-suicide.
According to a press release, there were several notes in the home discussing the couple having trouble paying for Whitney-Jones’s medical bills.
‘[The notes cited] severe ongoing medical problems with the wife and expressing concerns that the couple did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care,’ the press release read.
On Whitney-Jones’s Facebook page, she states that she is disabled, but her exact medical issues and the care she needed remain unclear.
The couple’s neighbor, Sherrie Schulteis, told the Lynden Tribune that she is ‘dumbfounded’ by the couple’s deaths.
‘[The husband and I] were always waving and talking about our yards or our flowers,’ Schulteis told the newspaper.
‘It’s a little tiny community where we all know each other, but we don’t really know each other.’
Whitney-Jones also describes herself as a retired Navy wife, but it’s not clear when her husband served.
‘It is very tragic that one of our senior citizens would find himself in such desperate circumstances where he felt murder and suicide were the only option,’ said Sheriff Bill Elfo in a statement. ‘Help is always available with a call to 911.’
Two dogs found in the home were turned over to the Humane Society while several firearms also discovered were impounded.
The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately reply to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
- For confidential help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.
- For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here.
- For confidential support in Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or click here.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Mary Kekatos