A 75-year-old man who fatally shot himself while the Police were visiting his house to conduct a welfare check on his wife, left behind a handwritten suicide note saying he had buried her in their backyard.
Late Tuesday night, a Volusia County Sheriff’s check of an elderly couple ended tragically when a 75-year-old man took his own life in a possible murder-suicide.
It was gathered that Laurence Caulfield, killed himself the night of Tuesday, May 9, while VCSO officers were investigating the scene. Inside his house, the deputies found a handwritten note from Caulfield claiming to have killed his wife and buried her in the backyard.
An out-of-state relative called around 9:15 p.m., saying she hadn’t spoken to the couple in several months, then on Tuesday had received a package in the mail containing the Caulfields’ will, life insurance policy, and other financial information, as well as contact information for the couple’s doctors.
Also within the package was a note from Laurence Caulfield, stating that he had been struggling to cope both physically and emotionally since his wife’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease.
“He also has guns in the house, and I’m concerned,” the caller told the VCSO. “The way it’s been written is a concern — a strong concern.”
Deputies were dispatched to the Canterbury Street residence to check on the Caulfields. Upon arrival, the officers spoke with Caulfield, who claimed he had moved his wife to Kansas City to live with family friends after her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. Deputies requested information to contact the wife, and Caulfield replied that his daughter in New Jersey had all the information.
The VCSO officers spoke with the daughter, who stated she knew nothing about her mother moving to Kansas City. She then contacted her father, who said his wife was asleep in the house.
Deputies, now extremely concerned, began pounding on the door but received no response. Shortly thereafter, at about 10:27 p.m., deputies heard a gunshot in the back of the house. Rushing to the backyard, they found Laurence Caulfield on the ground with a gun by his side, and a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The VCSO officers then entered the residence to look for his wife, and found instead a stack of papers that included the note from Caulfield, saying his wife was buried in the backyard.
Caulfield was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. at the Halifax Health Medical Center emergency center in Deltona.
Sheriff’s deputies searched the yard of the home on Wednesday and discovered a buried body. Officials are working with the medical examiner’s office to identify the remains.