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Dead couple had medical problems

A Nevada City couple found dead with gunshot wounds in their Oak Ridge Road home both suffered from painful medical conditions, sheriff’s officials reported Wednesday, which may have been a factor in a possible murder-suicide.

Ted Theal, 67, had been battling with adrenal gland failure and his wife Carrie Theal, 57, had “serious back issues,” according to Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.

They were found by a neighbor Monday morning on their living room floor with a 12-gauge shotgun by their bodies.



Sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Salivar said there was no sign of forced entry or burglary at the large, two-story home. Investigators say evidence points to a possible suicide pact, although no suicide note was found at the scene.

“The family indicated they had serious medical conditions,” Royal said. “We can only speculate that maybe those medical conditions could lead to depression, but we don’t know.”




The Theals’ 32-year-old daughter, Sonya, told sheriff’s investigators about her parents’ health problems in an interview Tuesday.

Sonya Theal, who grew up in Nevada County, has returned to her home in Las Vegas.

Autopsies revealed Ted Theal died of a single gunshot wound to his head while Carrie Theal died from a single gunshot wound to her lower right abdomen.

Royal said the shot entered Carrie’s body below her hip bone and traveled up toward her abdomen area, indicating the shotgun was fired at an upward angle.

“That would have been very difficult for her (Carrie Theals) to do,” Royal said.

He said he’s not pointing a finger at Ted Theal as the shooter, and any statements about what Ted Theal may have been doing when his wife was shot would be conjecture.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” Royal said. “Especially for family members.”

Investigators believe the Theals had been dead for about two days when they were found Monday morning by neighbor Paul Scott, who was asked to check on the couple by Sonya Theals.

Royal said the couple was last seen alive Thursday, when neighbors spotted them on their Oak Ridge Road property.

To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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