(File Photo)
Photo: WFTV.com
Photo: WFTV.com

Murder-suicide among elderly a continuing problem in Central Florida, expert says

When Harry Morley Jr. dialed 911 Tuesday evening, his voice sounded calm as he told the dispatcher what had happened.

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“I just shot and killed my wife,” he said.

When deputies arrived at his Brevard County, Florida, home, they found Morley, 82, and his wife, Maureen Morley, 66, dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

Unfortunately, this type of situation is an ongoing problem among the elderly in Central Florida, said Dr. Donna Cohen, with the University of South Florida’s College of Behavior Health and Community Sciences.

Researchers have found that a similar incident happens about every three weeks in Florida, she said.

Many times, contributing factors are depression, spousal dependence and social isolation, Cohen said.

Residents of the Morleys’ McIver Lane neighborhood in Rockledge were shocked by the news.

“Oh God, I was devastated,” Allean Hall said. “I didn’t know what, it was such, I just seen him (at) 1 p.m. that day.”

In April, investigators say a Volusia County man killed his wife and buried her in the backyard before shooting and killing himself.

Deputies said he left a note behind saying he had been struggling to cope with his wife’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Another elderly couple were found in March dead inside their Indian Harbor home. The deaths were believed to be the result of a murder-suicide.

Deputies said they believed the Morleys’ deaths appeared to be related to domestic issues.

Hall said he never saw it coming.

“I just don’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t understand it.”

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