Apparent Murder-Suicide in Smithfield

Apparent Murder-Suicide in Smithfield

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Nishi Gupta ReportingChief Johnny McCoy, Smithfield Police Dept.: "When people unfortunately are suffering or in extreme cases and they make decisions that lead to something like this it's very sad. It's very troubling."

Smithfield Police say a disturbing call this afternoon was the only communication they had with an 89-year-old man who shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. Police say Robert Stoutenburg told a dispatcher he shot and killed his 85-year-old wife Ernestine and he was going to kill himself next.

After a four-and-a-half minute conversation with the dispatcher, Robert Stoutenburg hung up the phone. She tried calling him back, but no one ever picked up. Local police and a SWAT team went to the Stoutenburg home and found the couple’s bodies in a basement bedroom. Next to the bodies were a revolver and a note that may explain why this happened.

Chief Johnny McCoy, Smithfield Police Dept.: “Medical issues that they were dealing with that were very serious, and that this action was chosen as a means to deal with it.”

Scott Jones, Neighbor: “I know he was on chemotherapy and it wasn’t too successful and he was gonna have to go in for another round of it.”

Neighbor Scott Jones said Ernesting Stoutenburg had a variety of medical problems too, although he didn’t know exactly what.

Police and neighbors say the couple was very well liked and friendly.

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