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The Toledo Blade
Published Wednesday, October 6, 2004
By STEVE MURPHY, BLADE STAFF WRITER
FOSTORIA – As she did every day, Tina Wilson arrived yesterday morning at her parents’ home on West Culbertson Street ready to take care of the ailing, elderly couple.
But when she entered the cream-colored bungalow about 8:50 a.m., she found them shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide.
Police said Marlowe Wagner, 85, apparently shot his wife, Bertha Wagner, 73, with a handgun, then turned the weapon on himself.
In a news release, acting Chief Rodger Wilson said the Wagners’ daughter called 911 at 8:52 a.m. The couple were pronounced dead at the scene.
Chief Wilson said in the statement that police believe the shootings occurred Monday night. He was not available for comment yesterday.
Ms. Wilson said her father was upset lately because she was trying to control his dosages of sleeping pills and anti-depressants.
“We had a battle over medications last week, and I took them away from him,” she said. “The next morning there was a note in the kitchen: ‘Shoot me or give me back my medications.’ ”
She added: “Real recently, he was getting real delusional and paranoid.”
Ms. Wilson said her parents’ violent, shocking deaths compounded the grief she has felt since July, 1987, when her brother, Darrin, was killed in a motorcycle crash.
“I lost my brother through tragedy, and now both parents. And now the hardest thing is not being able to tell them you love them or say goodbye,” Ms. Wilson said, a tear rolling down her right cheek as she stood on her parents’ front porch.
She said both her parents were in declining health. Mr. Wagner had congestive heart failure; Mrs. Wagner suffered a stroke late last year, her
third, which left her left side paralyzed, Ms. Wilson said.
She said she took a leave of absence from her job at a Sandusky car dealership to take care of them, and then quit rather than return to work. In February, she moved in with her parents, taking care of them during the day and spending nights at her boyfriend’s home in Sycamore, Ohio.
“I gave up everything,” she said. “Everything that comes with a job, the health-care insurance.”
Ms. Wilson said her mother could feed herself, but needed help with other daily tasks, such as getting in and out of bed and dressing herself. Her father was self-sufficient, but grew increasingly combative about her attempts to regulate his medicine.
“The doctor had told me to actually dole him out in the evening, but dad didn’t like that because he couldn’t control them,” she said.
Ms. Wilson said she was concerned enough to speak with her son about hiding Mr. Wagner’s handgun. “I told Jason I was going to take the gun and hide it,” she said. “And the police said it wouldn’t have mattered. They found other ones hidden in the bedroom.”
The Wagners moved to the one-story home in the late 1970s after her father retired from his longtime job as a pressman at the former Gray Printing Co. in Fostoria, Ms. Wilson said. Her mother also worked at Gray at various times in the negative-assembly department, she said.
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