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Posted on Wed. Feb. 19, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Bloomington police: Couple married 51 years spoke, ate together before deadly shots ended their lives


Ruth Ann White moved into an assisted care room at Meadowood after her husband of 51 years was admitted to the hospital for a time.

Police say after that, Robert White was no longer able to take care of his 76-year-old wife.

On Valentine’s Day, the 77-year-old man parked his tan Mercury Grand Marquis in the handicapped spot nearest the entrance to the Meadowood Health Pavilion.

Robert and Ruth Ann White visited in an activity room. They had lunch.

And then, the Ellettsville couple walked back to the room Ruth Ann White shared with another woman.

Five shots rang out.

Meadowood staff told police they heard just the gunshots, not the couple’s final conversation.

Police arrived at 2455 N. Tamarack Trail at 11:40 a.m. Friday and found the couple dead of an apparent murder-suicide.

Investigators say Robert White used a .38-caliber revolver and shot his wife four times as she lay in bed. He then turned the gun on himself and died from a single shot to the head.

While detectives have interviewed several of the couple’s family members, including their children, and spoken with Meadowood staff, they say they may never determine an exact motive.

“The ‘why’ is always the hardest,” Bloomington Police Department Lt. Steve Kellams said. “We’re getting a picture of some conversations they might have had.

“We do believe that he was physically not going to be able to take care of her anymore,” Kellams said. “We do believe that they had conversations about what they would do if they couldn’t take care of each other anymore.”

Investigators did not find a note, nothing that detailed or outlined a specific plan.

Kellams said he wouldn’t describe the murder-suicide as a pact. But investigators do not think the shooting happened in the heat of the moment.

Funeral services for the Whites will be Friday.

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