Elderly man kills wife, then himself over health care costs

Patricia Whitney Jones and Brian Jones

Patricia Whitney Jones and Brian Jones

The dispatcher attempted to keep the man on the line, but he disconnected after saying, "We will be in the front bedroom", according to authorities.

Sheriff's deputies arrived at the house near Ferndale about 15 minutes later and tried to contact the residents with a phone and a megaphone for about an hour, authorities said.

Police then used a robot-mounted camera to look inside the home, which revealed the man dead from an apparent gunshot wound lying next to his wife, age 76, who was also deceased from the same cause. The devastating story was shared on the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Facebook page and has gone viral.

A crisis negotiator tried contacting Jones using a telephone and a megaphone for almost an hour, but to no avail.

Both the man and his wife were found dead by gunshot wounds.

The identity of the couple has not been released.

Several notes left behind cited Whitney-Jones' "severe ongoing medical problems" and expressed concerns that the couple "did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care", investigators said.

Fellow neighbor Sherrie Schulteis told The Lynden Tribune that she often conversed with Jones and watched out for each other's homes, but never knew the extent to which he was struggling mentally and financially.

"[Brian and I] were always waving and talking about our yards or our flowers", she told the outlet.

In the home, deputies also discovered notes explaining the apparent murder-suicide, which referenced medical bills the couple could not cover.

Whitney-Jones also describes herself as a retired Navy wife, but it's not clear when her husband served. Their two dogs were brought to the Human Society for care.

"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", Sheriff Bill Elfo said in a statement.

Information from the Whatcom County Assessor's Office indicates the couple purchased the Timmerman Lane residence in 2004.

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