Cheyenne woman took opiates, morphine before she killed husband, son — (Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

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Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Sept 10, 2009

By Michael Van Cassell

Some of the many prescription meds in Joy Hofer’s system were prescribed, some weren’t, surmised the coroner.

CHEYENNE – A woman who authorities say shot her husband and killed her 2-year-old son had a cocktail of prescription drugs in her system when she took her own life on July 24.

On Wednesday, the Laramie County Coroner’s Office released results from the autopsy performed on 31-year-old Joy M. Hofer.

In a toxicology test, forensic pathologist Dr. Patrick Allen found opiates, tranquilizers, anti-depressants and pain killers in the woman, according to the autopsy report.

Some of those drugs were in her blood at levels ranging from twice to potentially 1,200 times the therapeutic level, the report shows.

Laramie County Coroner Marty Luna said there were “high amounts of opiates and morphine” in her system.

“She should have been shut down,” he said. “I don’t know how she functioned.”

Luna said the woman did have some anti-depressants that were prescribed, and that she had a history of such medication.

“There’s no prescription for the (opiates and morphine),” Luna said Wednesday. “You can surmise she got it from other sources.”

Her husband, Kelly J. Hofer, 28, and son Gunnar Hofer, 2, were both found July 25 in at the family’s residence in the 4700 block of Hickory Place. Autopsies indicated Joy M. Hofer killed them.

Kelly Hofer died from a gunshot wound to the back of his head; Gunnar Hofer died from suffocation and strangulation, according to autopsies.

Luna has said evidence suggested Kelly Hofer died first, and that he and Gunnar died July 24.

Bruises were found on the child’s neck and face as well as lidocaine, an anesthetic or numbing agent, in his blood stream, an autopsy report shows.

The autopsy report for Joy M. Hofer said she suffered a gunshot to the right side of her head.

Cheyenne Police Detective Cathleen Trujillo said Wednesday that she is awaiting test results for gunshot residue kits and fingerprints from the state crime laboratory.

“When I have those, I’ll finish the report,” she said.

Luna said he is continuing an investigation into why this all happened.

“If I can get close to answering that question, then I want to do that,” he said.