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BY CHUCK FIELDMAN, STAFF WRITER
Two days after she had called Franklin Park Police over concern about her longtime next-door neighbors, Kay Peterson still was finding it difficult to believe what had happened to a couple she had known since moving onto the 3100 block of Dora 23 years ago.
Police followed up on the call they received at 10:11 p.m. Saturday from Peterson. And when they subsequently entered the home of longtime village residents Earl Putbress, 79, and his wife, Gloria, 77, of 3128 Dora, they found both of them dead.
On Monday, Police Chief Thomas Wolfe said the deaths appeared to be a murder-suicide.
“This is just something nobody could have ever expected,” Peterson said Monday. “They were just wonderful neighbors, and they helped everyone around here. Everyone (who lives in the area) is really surprised about what happened. You could tell they were very happy together. There’s no way this could have been about them having problems with each other.”
Wolfe said police responded to the Putbress home shortly after receiving Peterson’s call asking for a well-being check.
“The neighbor saw newspapers outside and hadn’t seen (the Putbresses), so they were concerned and called us,” Wolfe said.
After entering the Putbress home, police reportedly found Gloria Putbress on the floor of the living room with a lamp cord on her neck. She had been strangled, Wolfe said.
Police found Earl Putbress sitting in a chair in the rear of the home. He apparently had consumed a quantity of drugs and inflicted a knife wound on his left forearm. Police said they found a large knife in his right hand and six empty medicine bottles and two glasses of water near his body.
Police reports stated there was an obvious sign of a struggle, including a broken table, plants that were knocked over and pictures, several vases and pots on the floor.
Wolfe said Earl Putbress reportedly had been treated for cancer and depression.
Village President Dan Pritchett said he often saw the Putbresses at Sunday services at First United Methodist Church of Franklin Park, 9857 Schiller Blvd.
“I really only knew them to just say hello to them, but I know they were the sweetest people in church on Sunday,” he said. “They always stopped to say hi.”
Chuck Fieldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org