Police: Man kills wife, self over health care costs

FERNDALE, Wash. – Overwhelming medical bills likely led to a murder-suicide in Washington state, police say.

According to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called Wednesday morning to a home after a 77-year-old man called 911 and told the dispatcher he was going to shoot himself. He told the dispatcher he’d prepared a note for the sheriff with information and instructions.

The dispatcher tried to keep the man on the line, but the man disconnected the call after telling the dispatcher “we will be in the front bedroom.”

Deputies arrived about 15 minutes later and set up a perimeter. A crisis negotiator spent an hour trying to contact anyone inside the home. When no one responded, police deployed a robot-mounted camera.

Police found the 77-year-old caller dead from a gunshot wound and said his 76-year-old wife had also been fatally shot.

Investigators consider the case a murder-suicide and said they found several notes indicating the wife had severe medical problems and the couple didn’t have the resources to pay for her medical care.

Another note had notification for next-of-kin, police said. Two dogs found inside the home were turned over to the humane society. Several firearms were impounded.

“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 Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. “Help is always available with a call to 911.”

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