Elderly couple found dead in apparent murder-suicide left behind harrowing notes

An elderly husband and wife who were found dead by police in an apparent murder-suicide left behind several notes explaining that surmounting medical bills led to the tragedy, authorities in Washington state say.  

A 77-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, called 911 Wednesday morning and told a dispatcher he planned to shoot himself, the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

The man also said he prepared a note for the sheriff with "information and instructions" before saying "we will be in the front bedroom" and hanging up the phone.

Deputies responding to the man's Ferndale home say they tried for about an hour to contact the occupants via phone and megaphone to no avail.

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.

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

"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," the sheriff's office said.

Two dogs found alive within the residence were turned over to the Humane Society for care and numerous firearms were confiscated from the home and impounded for safekeeping.

Sheriff Bill Elfo lamented the tragedy, writing, "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 9-1-1," he added. 

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Click here to learn about the warning signs of suicide.

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