A Washington man suspected of murdering his wife before dying by suicide reportedly left behind notes stating the couple had been struggling to pay for their medical bills.
77-year-old Brian Jones, of Ferndale, Washington, rang 911 shortly before 8.30am on Wednesday, August 7, and spoke of his suicide plans. The dispatcher attempted to keep Jones on the line but was unable to do so.
Jones told the dispatcher ‘I am going to shoot myself.’ He would also leave behind a note containing information and instructions with his last words ‘we will be in the front bedroom’.
When emergency services arrived at the couple’s home, a perimeter was set up around the property and a crisis negotiator attempted to make contact with Jones for approximately one hour, without success.
A robot mounted camera was then deployed. Authorities found the bodies of Jones and his wife, 76-year-old Patricia Whitney-Jones, lying beside each other. It is believed Jones’ death was self-inflicted, while Whitney-Jones’ was not.
The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office has told the Lynden Tribune the deaths are now being investigated as a murder-suicide.
According to a press release, several notes were discovered at the home which detailed how the couple had been struggling to pay their medical bills:
[The notes cited] severe ongoing medical problems with the wife and expressing concerns that the couple did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care.
Sheriff Bill Elfo, of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, made the following statement:
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 911.
Sheriff Bill Elfo made the additional comments during a telephone interview with Fox News:
We do what we can to help them, We can’t solve all their healthcare needs, but we can help them until a better day comes.
The couple’s neighbor, Sherrie Schulteis, has made the following comments to the Lynden Tribune:
[The husband and I] were always waving and talking about our yards or our flowers.
It’s a little tiny community where we all know each other, but we don’t really know each other.
Two dogs found at the property were taken to the Humane Society while ‘numerous’ firearms were impounded for safekeeping.
Our thoughts are with the family of Brian Jones and Patricia Whitney-Jones at this difficult time.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.