DELTONA, Fla. (AP) — A 75-year-old man is dead after he hot himself while deputies were visiting his house to conduct a welfare check on his wife. Police say they man left behind a hand-written suicide note saying he had buried his wife in the backyard.
Laurence Caulfield admitted he killed his wife in the note, and officials are searching the yard for her body, the Volusia County Sheriff’s department says in a news release. He also included with the letter the couple’s will, life insurance policy and other financial documents, the sheriff’s department says.
Deputies visited the home in Deltona, northeast of Orlando, Tuesday night after an out-of-state relative reported receiving a strange letter from Caulfield. The relative says the letter detailed Caulfield’s difficulty coping physically and emotionally as his wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. The relative also told detectives she hadn’t spoken to the couple in months.
“He also has guns in the house, and I’m concerned,” the caller told dispatchers. “The way it’s been written is a concern, a strong concern.”
Deputies went to the house and spoke briefly with Caulfield, who told them his wife suffered from Alzheimer’s and he had moved her to Kansas City to stay with friends of the family.
When deputies asked how they could get in touch with her, he told them to call his daughter in New Jersey, who had the information, the news release says.
Caulfield went back inside the house while deputies called the daughter, who said she knew nothing about her mother moving to Kansas City. Deputies grew concerned and began knocking on the front door but no one answered, the sheriff’s office says.
Deputies then heard a shot from the back of the house and found a wounded Caulfield with a shotgun by his side. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.