Two Members of Stockdale Family Band Killed in Murder-Suicide Attempt
Two members of the Stockdale Family, a family bluegrass band out of Ohio, are dead after a family member shot them and then turned the gun on himself.
Jacob Stockdale, 25, is suspected of murdering his brother, 21-year-old James Stockdale, and their mother, 54-year-old mother Kathryn Stockdale, at the family’s residence in Stark County, Ohio.
According to the Canton Repository, authorities believe Kathryn and James were already dead when Stark County Sheriff deputies arrived on the scene at 4:36PM on Friday (June 16) after receiving a 911 hang-up call from inside the house. A shot rang out as they approached the residence, which investigators believe was Jacob putting the shotgun used in the double homicide to his own head and pulling the trigger.
It's an especially shocking scenario for the family, which appeared on ABC's Wife Swap in 2008. The reality show featured wives from very different backgrounds switching places for a week to impart new ways of looking at family to other families, as well as learn from them, and the Stockdales portrayed themselves as a wholesome Christian family with traditional beliefs whose children were home-schooled.
The family was well-known for their bluegrass band, in which patriarch Timothy Stockdale played with his sons. James played bass and Jacob played fiddle in the band, which Kathryn managed. Two older kids no longer live at home, and Timothy Stockdale was not at home at the time of the shootings, for which Sherriff George T. Maier says no motive is yet clear.
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“It’s hard to surmise what the motive may have been. There’s some speculation. ... We’ll continue to investigate this case and try to determine the motive,” Maier tells the Repository.
It's unknown whether the shotgun used in the murders and suicide attempt belonged to Jacob Stockdale. Investigators found no other guns in the family home.
"It’s really early in the investigation. There are a lot of unanswered questions for us yet," Maier says, adding that Timothy Stockdale is cooperating with the investigation and indicated no tensions leading up to the incident. "This is a tragedy for the family. It is a tragedy for the community."
Bluegrass Today reports that Jacob Stockdale’s condition has stabilized. He is listed in critical condition at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center.
Timothy Stockdale has released a statement, saying, "Kathy has been my beloved wife of 32 years and a wonderful mother to our four sons. She loved nothing more than being a mother and grandmother. She had a strong love of learning and was passionate about her Christian faith, natural health, and organic farming."
Calvin Stockdale, the oldest of the brothers, also released a statement.
"James, our youngest brother, has always been a catalyst of family fun. Aside from being a gifted musician, James enjoyed dancing and had an innate love of people," he says. "James was working on a business degree and hoped to go into the business side of entertainment. He leaves behind many friends and a family that love him dearly. My brother, Jacob, is still in critical condition and we are praying for his physical recovery as our family makes funeral plans and begins the healing process."
Investigators have not been able to speak to Jacob Stockdale regarding the crime due to his physical condition.
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