The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 20, 2013

Couple’s deaths believed to be murder-suicide

By Jeff Lehr

ASBURY, Mo. — A couple whose bodies were discovered Tuesday morning inside their home north of Asbury died in an apparent murder-suicide, according to the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.

The bodies of Richard Hughes, 58, and his wife, Janet Hughes, 53, were found in their home at 18022 County Road 290 after a family member flagged down a deputy in Asbury and expressed concern about not having seen them for some time.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release Wednesday that the Hugheses died of single gunshot wounds to their heads, and that investigators have determined that Richard Hughes shot his wife before shooting himself.

“The motive behind it is something I’m not prepared to speculate on,” Sheriff Randee Kaiser said.

He said no note was left at the scene explaining what happened. The sheriff said family members have not indicated that there were any health issues that may have played a role in the matter.

Kaiser declined to discuss the type of gun that was used. He also declined to provide a time frame for the shootings, pending the results of autopsies scheduled to be performed today in Columbia as part of the probe of the couple’s deaths.