Coroner releases findings on double shooting

Published 11:33 am Friday, January 31, 2014

On Jan. 24 an elderly couple was found dead at their home in Chesapeake.

The names of the deceased were not immediately made available, but have since been released with the publishing of the coroner’s report. Paul Hayes, 91 and Carol Hayes, 88 are believed to have committed suicide in their home sometime between 7:34 and 8:40 a.m.

According to the coroner’s report the couple was found in a utility room by a relative who had arrived at the Hayes’ residence to check on the couple.

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“I arrived at the scene at approximately 9:45 a.m.,” Coroner’s office investigator, Bill Nenni wrote in the report. “A single shot gun was found in front of an overturned chair with the muzzle pointing at the male victim.”

Coroner Kurt Hofmann concluded that by his observations there was no need to conduct an autopsy and that the cause of death for both victims was a gunshot wound.

“On Jan. 24, I was informed that there were deaths that occurred in a suspicious or an unusual manner that had been found in Lawrence County,” Hofmann said in the report. “Considering the surrounding circumstances, together with statements of the persons having adequate knowledge of the facts, “I reached the conclusion that no autopsy and no inquest was necessary and the cause of death is a gunshot wound.”

A series of items were found at the scene including a note addressed to the Hayes’ daughter, Nikki Graham. The note referenced the Hayes’ desire not to undergo upcoming surgeries and that they “planned they would do this.”