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Santa Rosa couple plan careful double suicide

October 30, 2006|From the Associated Press

A husband and wife despondent over her failing health hanged themselves in a meticulously coordinated double suicide, shocking the couple's affluent Sonoma County community, authorities said.

Police found the bodies of Bill Andrews, 61, and his wife, Karen, 52, in the basement of their Santa Rosa home this month after neighbors noticed uncollected newspapers stacking up outside.

The couple, who were married 26 years, wrote four suicide notes -- two to police and one each to family members -- according to investigators.

They set out their wills, bills and keys, cleaned the house and unlocked their front door. A note inside the door discovered by a neighbor -- concerned about the mounting mail and newspapers -- described where the bodies could be found, police said.

Friends said Karen Andrews grew frail after a hysterectomy last year and began suffering chronic pain, sleeplessness and depression. The normally sociable pair, who volunteered with their homeowners association and local charities, had started to withdraw from others in recent months, friends said.

The couple moved to Santa Rosa from Chicago five years ago after successful careers in the software industry, settling in a new neighborhood of 3,000-plus-square-foot homes selling for about $800,000.

Each had a grown son from former marriages living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They also had a granddaughter.

Santa Rosa police said the couple's notes clearly indicated that they had acted together. One addressed to police said that committing suicide is not a crime and that they had died together willingly.

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