Couple's murder-suicide prompted by medical bill worries, sheriff says

An elderly Washington state couple died in a murder-suicide that a local sheriff attributed to worries about medical bills, according to USA Today.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office reported that on Aug. 7 that deputies responded to a home near Ferndale, Wash., after a 77-year-old man told a 911 dispatcher he planned to shoot himself and indicated, "We will be in the front bedroom."

Deputies found the man, Brian S. Jones, and his 76-year-old wife, Patricia A. Whitney-Jones, dead.

The sheriff's office said notes were found in the home indicating struggles with healthcare costs.

"Several notes were left citing severe ongoing medical problems with the wife and expressing concerns that the couple did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care," Sheriff Bill Elfo wrote in a sheriff's office Facebook post.  

"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. Help is always available with a call to 911," he added.

Mr. Elfo told USA Today that the case has been confirmed as a murder-suicide, and investigators believe the husband's worries over medical bills were "legitimate."

Read the full USA Today report here.


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