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Evidence suggests death of couple murder-suicide

Evidence found in a home where an area physician and his wife were found dead on Monday leads authorities to believe the two died in a murder-suicide.

Kanawha County Deputies released more information on the incident Tuesday, one day after Dr. Bruce Foster and his wife, Marlise, were found dead of gunshot wounds in the Cross Lanes home.

The revolver used in the shooting was still in Dr. Foster's hand when the bodies were found. Both died of a single shot to the head and Dr. Foster's arm was around the body of his wife, who was reportedly struggling with an illness before her death, said Cpl. Brian Humphreys, spokesman for the Kanawha Sheriff's Office.

Dr. Foster was known for his views on end-of-life care. He referred to death as "graduation" in his many lectures and advocated the use of living wills and medical power of attorney documents.

Detectives are working to determine who owned the revolver, Humphreys said.

Foster worked at Thomas Memorial Hospital and was chairman of the hospital's ethics and institutional review board.

Employees at Foster's medical practice were worried when he didn't show up for work Monday. They went to his home near Cross Lanes to check on him. When they didn't get an answer they found a neighbor who was able to enter the house. 

John Walker, who has lived across the street from the Fosters for about eight years, entered the home and found the bodies.

Humphreys said no note was found at the scene.

Walker described them as a "good couple." He said Marlise had been very ill and that he hadn't seen her out and about as much. She formerly worked as her husband's office manager.

"You could tell they really cared about each other," he said. "We'd see them lying side by side holding hands by the pool on pretty days."

Humphreys said detectives are not releasing the possible motives at this time because the investigation is ongoing.


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