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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Crime/Public Safety

Couple identified in what Spokane police are investigating as ‘murder-suicide’

Jan. 31, 2023 Updated Tue., Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:22 p.m.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the elderly couple who died earlier this month in what police are investigating as a “murder-suicide.”

Gael and Donald Wirth were found dead Jan. 20 in their home, 629 E. Martingale Court, in the Latah Valley Neighborhood, according to court documents.

Gael Wirth, 85, died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, while Donald Wirth, 84, died of one gunshot to the head, the medical examiner announced. Gael Wirth’s death was ruled a homicide, while Donald Wirth’s was determined to be a suicide.

The Spokane Fire Department responded to the home for a medical alarm and found the couple dead on a bed, documents say.

Spokane police Cpl. Seth Killian wrote in documents that a note on the front door of the home read, “COME IN AND GO INTO THE BEDROOM ON THE LEFT THEN CALL THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE …” Killian said the note listed two people’s first and last names and their phone numbers.

Three shell casings were on the bedroom floor, Officer Nathaniel Medellin wrote in documents. A black semi-automatic Glock pistol was in Donald Wirth’s left hand on his chest, Killian wrote.

Officer Brad Lewis found a binder in the basement office with what appeared to be instructions for power of attorney and a will dated Jan. 10.

Lewis spoke with a longtime friend of the couple’s who was one of the names listed on the note and claimed to be the couple’s power of attorney, documents say. The man told Lewis he received a short phone call from Donald Wirth saying, “Emergency, emergency. Get to Bridalwood now.”

Court documents do not make clear what “Bridalwood” may have been referencing, but East Bridlewood Lane connects to East Martingale Court, where the couple lived.

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