Elderly Couple Found Dead of Gun Wounds — (The Salt Lake Tribune)

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The Salt Lake Tribune (UT)

November 14, 2000

Author: Michael Vigh, The Salt Lake Tribune

[]Relatives discovered the bodies of an elderly Orem couple Saturday night, dead of gunshot wounds in an apparent murder-suicide.   Police said 77-year-old Mitchell Sawaya likely shot his disabled wife, Lillie Sawaya, 77, in the chest and then fatally shot himself in the head at their home at 1291 N.

725 West, said Orem police Lt. Doug Edwards.

Investigators theorize the couple had been dead about a day before they were found by worried relatives, who were unable to contact the couple. Neighbors reported seeing Mitchell Sawaya clearing snow from his walks on Friday morning.

Before closing the case, investigators will wait for autopsies to be conducted by the Utah Medical Examiners Office.

Edwards said police believe Mitchell Sawaya killed his wife and then himself because he was depressed over her incapacitated condition.  There was no evidence of forced entry and the doors were locked, police said.

“Looking at the totality of circumstances, we believe that Mr. Sawaya, though obviously not in his right mind, probably was acting on what he felt was best for himself and his wife,” Edwards said. “Mrs. Sawaya was physically disabled and required constant care.”

Mitchell Sawaya had been taking medication for depression, Edwards said, adding that there was evidence that he had hugged his wife after he shot her.

Friday’s murder-suicide is the second in Utah this year and the 40th murder overall statewide, according to statistics compiled by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Record Number:  100EA1126C81E8AB