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Elderly couple identified in Wednesday’s murder-suicide near Ferndale

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The loss of a loved one can take a physical and emotional toll on you. Grief can produce stress in your body. The process can be different for everyone, and people may even experience “complicated grief." Learn more here.

The elderly couple found dead in their home near Ferndale early Wednesday, Aug. 7, in a murder-suicide were identified Thursday.

Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel said Patricia A. Whitney-Jones, 76, died after being shot once by her husband, Brian S. Jones, 77. Jones then shot himself three times with the small-caliber semiautomatic handgun in a suicide.

Several notes left at the scene suggested the couple couldn’t afford medical care, a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office press release stated Wednesday.

At 8:23 a.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies responded to the 6500 block of Timmeran Lane after Jones called 911 and told the dispatcher “I am going to shoot myself,” the release states. Jones told the dispatcher he had prepared a note for the Sheriff with information and instructions. The dispatcher tried to keep Jones on the line, but he disconnected.

Deputies arrived 15 minutes later, at 8:38 a.m., and set up a perimeter around the house. A crisis negotiator tried to contact the occupants of the home with a phone and a megaphone for around an hour.

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Deputies then deployed a robot-mounted camera. Jones was found dead from gunshot wounds, lying next to Whitney-Jones, according to the release.

Next of kin information was left in a note. Several notes were left citing severe, ongoing medical issues with Patricia A. Whitney-Jones.

“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 said in a prepared statement.

Two dogs were also found inside the home and were turned over to the Whatcom Humane Society for care. Numerous firearms were also impounded, the release states.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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