Murder-suicide claims Christie team member, spouse

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Murder-suicide claims Christie team member, spouse
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks to the media following a visit with supporters at a local diner, Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Marion, Iowa. Christie making his way across politically important Iowa Thursday, but is keeping the conversation away from his own political future and focusing on Republicans running here this year. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
PHOTOS: Remembering #JoanBramhall http://t.co/IvXuFoHiis http://t.co/bZmJfRtaD2
A look inside the lives of the Bramhalls at http://t.co/DXjPPzQM4s http://t.co/kvcyaCpHdl
Sources: Morris political figure Joan Bramhall dead in apparent murder-suicide http://t.co/KRngaN2ijh http://t.co/W0AUV2hY60
Very sorry 2 hear of the tragic death of Morris County legend Joan Bramhall, a major force in #GOP politics 4 decades http://t.co/qrq9bk0S6G
#Morris County Clerk Joan Bramhall was honored at the #Bucco Beefsteak by #Christie, NJ State Governor http://t.co/moGCOHtWCA
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during an address to the American Enterprise Institute February 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 9: Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., delivers remarks on 'Restoring Fiscal Integrity and Accountability' at the Brookings Institution. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses attendees of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's 74th Annual Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2011. (Rod Lamkey Jr./MCT via Getty Images)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses attendees of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's 74th Annual Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2011. (Rod Lamkey Jr./MCT via Getty Images)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during an address to the American Enterprise Institute February 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 21: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attends the 2nd Inauguration Of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie & Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno at Trenton War Memorial on January 21, 2014 in Trenton, New Jersey. (Photo by Steve Sands/WireImage)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ignores protestors shouting and holding up signs as he answers a question while addressing a gathering Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Belmar, N.J., as he continues his summertime talks with residents in New Jersey's beach communities. Christie’s 125th town hall-style event was interrupted twice by audience members angry that his administration has never held one of the events in the city of Newark, where Christie was born. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Davenport, Iowa. Christie making his way across politically important Iowa Thursday, but is keeping the conversation away from his own political future and focusing on Republicans running here this year. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waits to speak at a fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Davenport, Iowa. Christie making his way across politically important Iowa Thursday, but is keeping the conversation away from his own political future and focusing on Republicans running here this year. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waits to speak at a fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Davenport, Iowa. Christie making his way across politically important Iowa Thursday, but is keeping the conversation away from his own political future and focusing on Republicans running here this year. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 24, 2014, file photo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a gathering after he signed into law a bill that would extend the cap on arbitration awards to New Jersey's police and firefighters in front of the Statehouse Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Trenton. Gov. Chris Christie's administration is facing an investigation into how it paid for a $1 billion repair of a New Jersey bridge. Two people said the investigation deals with whether funding for Pulaski Skyway repairs was misrepresented in bond documents by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

DENVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- A member of Republican Gov. Chris Christie's transition team and her husband were under "enormous stress" in the weeks before he fatally shot her and then killed himself, their daughter said.

Lorraine "Lori" Bramhall told the Daily Record of Parsippany (http://dailyre.co/1ygUkQt ) that John Bramhall believed his wife of 54 years, Joan, was suffering from dementia.

Lori Bramhall disagreed with the assessment, saying her mother could be "forgetful" but there were no apparent changes in her personality.

But longtime friend Keith Pierson told the newspaper that Joan Bramhall did appear to have some mental issues. He said she recently asked him whether President Richard Nixon, who died in 1994, was still alive, and he sometimes noticed she had a "vacant" demeanor.

Former Christie Official Found Dead

Authorities have not said what might have prompted the murder-suicide in the couple's Denville home. A medical examiner ruled Joan Bramhall's death a homicide, while John Bramhall's death was ruled a suicide.

A family member found the bodies Thursday morning and called police.

Joan Bramhall was a former Morris County clerk who was well-known in Republican political circles. She retired in December.

In a statement, Christie hailed Bramhall as an "outstanding public servant but an even better person" who would be sorely missed by family and friends.

"She was an extraordinarily selfless and generous person to friends and family alike. She honored me and Mary Pat with her friendship for the last 20 years. We considered her a dear friend and we are terribly saddened by her tragic passing. We send our condolences to Joan's family," he said.

John Bramhall, a successful builder of high-end homes, was laidback and loved to go on hunting trips, friends told the newspaper. When his wife retired after 15 years as county clerk, she said the couple hoped to travel and cruise to Alaska.

Lori Bramhall said that she and her father were estranged and that he had obtained domestic violence restraining orders against her and three of her adult children Wednesday. Those orders were dismissed Friday.

"My father said I wasn't allowed to talk to my mother. I loved my mother, and she loved me," Lori Bramhall said, noting that her parents at various times had raised all six of her children because she was dealing with substance abuse problems.

More in the news:
Ukraine rebel leader: We are open to a cease-fire
LeBron James gets massive welcome home party
Several hundred at vigil for slain girl, 6
Police-mayor tensions mount over chokehold death

Read Full Story

People are Reading