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Friends and family remember elderly couple found dead in St. Joseph County

Philip and Barbara Wilmes// Photo provided

Friends are remembering an elderly couple found dead over the weekend.

An autopsy confirmed the couple died as a result of murder-suicide. The victims are 81-year-old Philip Wilmes and his wife 80-year-old Barbara.

WSBT 22 spoke to a family friend who says this is personal for her because she grew up on the farm when the couple lived.

Investigators say Philip and Barbara Wilmes died from gunshot wounds.

The couple was found Saturday inside their home on Myrtle Road during a welfare check.

Family friend Gail Smith Olds says she was speechless when she heard the news.

"My husband and I, we were shocked. We were just stunned and it's so sad. It felt awful because we had just been there,” said Olds.

Olds says the couple purchased the farm from her grandparents in 1968. They stayed in touch and Gail would babysit their youngest child.

"They were good neighbors, they took care of the farm so well and she was just the sweetest. Sometimes Phil would like to joke with you and he was kind of ornery,” Olds said.

She says it was a beautiful, sunny day full of laughs and memories. Olds wanted to walk around the farm where she grew up one last time.

"They were talking about possibly needing to sell the farm because they just couldn't keep things up, getting older and that kind of thing,” Olds said.

Olds says she will always remember Barbara and Philip as good parents who raised three amazing kids and loved their grandchildren.

"This is a tragic end but if shouldn't define their lives because they did a lot of good things. They contributed to the community they loved,” Olds said.

The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit has concluded their investigation.


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