Couple found dead in southwest Gainesville apartment

Officials work at an apartment in Southwest Gainesville where two bodies were found Thursday afternoon.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 3:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 3:27 p.m.

A couple known to brawl and to drink heavily were found dead in a southwest Gainesville apartment Thursday afternoon in what authorities suspect is a murder/suicide.

The bodies were found in a bedroom by a maintenance man at Tower Oaks Glen apartments at 6900 SW 24th Lane when he passed by a window and saw the man's body. The woman's body was found when apartment employees got a master key and went inside, said Alachua County Sheriff's Lt. Todd Kelly.

"There is a history … of domestic violence and violence-related issues," Kelly said. "We have a history at this apartment with domestic-related issues."

The names of the couple have not been released because their families have not yet been notified.

Property manager Ginny Amstead said the man lived in the apartment for about three months and worked for the apartment complex as a groundskeeper. Amstead said the woman moved in with him a short time later, adding they were having difficulties with their relationship.

Amstead said the man told her he was planning to move to Tennessee, where he is from and has family.

"He was a good, well-mannered normally kind man. The Southern gentleman," Amstead said. "He was very depressed. His father died about three or four months ago. He was at loose ends, and they were having relationship problems."

Another property manager, Karen Baird, said the woman sometimes became violent with the man.

"He always took her back. She'd take his car and would be gone a couple of days, and he'd take her back," Baird said.

Amstead and Baird said that both the man and the woman drank heavily.

The deaths were reported to the Sheriff's Office about 1:45 p.m. Thursday.

Amstead said maintenance man Luis Lugo first spotted the man through a bedroom window at the back of the apartment. Lugo contacted another maintenance man, Bill Sandercook, and the two went into the apartment with a master key.

Finding the bodies, Sandercook went to the office, where Amstead called authorities.

Apartment staff said the man and woman had gunshot wounds. The Sheriff's Office would not release details about cause of death, saying autopsies would be done. Staff from the state Medical Examiner's Office were at the scene Thursday afternoon.

Kelly said the Sheriff's Office had been called to the apartment a number of times for domestic violence.

Neighbors said the man was often outside working on the grounds and described him as a nice guy who was having trouble.

"He was a frequent beer drinker, just like the rest of us," Wallace Hunt, one of the neighbors, said. "Every once in a while, she'd come out with a shiner on her face or he'd come come out with a knot on his head."

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