Florida man kills dementia-suffering wife of 47 years in 'mercy-killing' before turning gun on himself

Amidst mounting medical bills and an expiring insurance, John Thombleson saw no other option but to kill his wife and himself

                            Florida man kills dementia-suffering wife of 47 years in 'mercy-killing' before turning gun on himself
(Source : Getty Images)

A Florida man who killed his wife before killing himself is said to have done so because he could no longer stand to see her suffer any longer, their family has revealed.

The husband, 67-year-old John Thombleson, and his wife of 47 years, 66-year-old Gwendolyn Thombleson, were found dead at their San Souci home on the 2100 block of Goltare Drive, Jacksonville, at around 3.30 pm on May 1.

According to news4jax, deputies from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office were called to the home by John after he had already shot and killed Gwendolyn and was threatening to kill himself.

When they arrived at the residence, they made numerous attempts to contact the people inside but did not succeed in doing so. When members from the SWAT team eventually made their way inside, they found the bodies of John and Gwendolyn inside a bedroom.

Their family, however, has insisted that their deaths were not the culmination of some domestic dispute. They described the incident as a "mercy killing", suggesting John had killed Gwendolyn because he was motivated by his love for his wife, with whom he had been with since high school.

John's sister, Jenny Reid, revealed that after Gwendolyn had undergone surgery eight months ago, her health had begun declining at a rapid pace. She said the 66-year-old had developed several serious health conditions, including dementia, and that despite trying to help the couple out in such trying times, the outlook did not seem too positive.

Furthermore, their medical bills had begun piling up, with an expiring insurance making their situation even worse. John was retired and Gwendolyn worked for the school district, and they did not have a feasible way to pay for the ever-mounting expenses.

A neighbor who lived across the street said that the last time he spoke to John, the 67-year-old had divulged about how he and his wife could potentially even lose their home because of their medical bills. But another neighbor, Drazen Klacer, said he had never noticed any red flags. "He was a nice guy, older guy, ready to retire," he said. 

Lisa Veres, who also lived in the neighborhood, expressed her shock at the deaths. "You don’t hear of anything like this happening in this neighborhood," she said. "We've lived here for so long and my husband's family has lived here for so long, and everybody is just so quiet and so sweet."

Posting a tribute on Facebook, Jenny wrote, "My heart is breaking tonight as We have lost my brother and sister-in-law to a tragic situation, murder-suicide. Johnny and Gwen, I’m so sorry it had to end this way."

"And please know that it was not domestic dispute as being reported on certain news channels, trust me," she continued. "Please pray for me, my family and especially my mom. We love you two so much and miss you. I’m going to miss your crazy animated humorous storytelling."