Deaths ruled a murder-suicide
A Nevada City couple found dead in their home on Oak Ridge Road was ruled a murder-suicide Monday, with the husband as the shooter.
“We’ll never really know what went down,” said brother Doug Miller of Carrie Theal. “This is a tough situation.”
According to physical evidence found at the scene, Ted Theal, 67, apparently shot his wife, Carrie Theal, 57, in her lower abdomen with a shotgun, then shot himself in the head just a few minutes later.
“There is nothing that would lead us to believe that it’s anything other than a tragic murder and someone taking his own life,” said Nevada County Undersheriff John Trauner Monday.
Carrie Theal was found lying on a sheet on her living room floor with her head and feet propped up on pillows, with a shot to her right hip. Sheriff’s officials said Ted Theal has a military background and must have known a shotgun blast to his wife’s femoral artery would most likely be fatal. Ted Theal was found to the left of his wife, face down next to a chair with a gunshot wound to his head.
The couples’ family reported they both had been suffering from painful medical conditions. Ted Theal had chronic adrenal gland failure and back pain, and Carrie Theal also suffered from back pain.
“Carrie’s pain started about a month ago,” said Sue Conway, reportedly Carrie’s friend of more than 20 years. “She underwent epidural treatments about three and a half weeks ago and she called to tell me they were helping. She was full of hope.”
Carrie Theal worked for the Nevada Joint Union High School district for several years doing secretarial work before retiring in 2004. She worked in the business office in the district building on Ridge Road in the accounts payable department, then in the Park Avenue Alternative Education Center as a secretary.
Every Tuesday for three years, she attended an eight-member women’s Bible study group at Conway’s home.
“She’s just a wonderful, nice person, and we’re just very saddened by the loss of her,” said Trisha Dellis, Park Avenue Alternative Education Center principal.
Before retirement, Ted Theal worked as an auto body shop teacher at the education center and enjoyed classic car restoration.
“He loved classic cars,” Conway said. “He had a 1937 Chevy coupe.”
According to neighbors and friends, the Theals both volunteered for Meals on Wheels in their retirement years.
The couples’ 32-year-old adopted daughter was contacted by sheriff’s investigators at her residence in Las Vegas, Nev., shortly after her parents’ bodies were found by a neighbor the morning of Monday, Feb. 20.
Sonya Theal – who reportedly goes by the first name of Julie – grew up in Nevada County and returned to help investigators piece together the motive and gather some of her parents’ belongings.
Conway said she and several of the Carrie’s friends are organizing a local memorial service for her, with the time, date and location to be announced later.
To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4236.
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