Cragsmoor murder-suicide preceded by domestic violence calls in which wife was ‘aggressor,’ undersheriff says

By PAULA ANN MITCHELL
July 6, 2013

CRAGSMOOR, N.Y. — The husband and wife who died in a murder-suicide at their Dellenbaugh Road home in this Wawarsing hamlet had domestic problems for at least the past couple of years, Undersheriff Frank Faluotico said on Friday.

Late Wednesday, the bodies of Paul W. McCombs, 62, and Sharon K. McCombs, 61, were found in a bedroom of their home. The Sheriff’s Office said Mrs. McCombs shot her husband twice in the head at close range and then died after taking an unknown amount of prescription pills.

“In our past experience at the house, we’ve had domestic incidents and made a few arrests of the female subject at the residence,” Faluotico said.

He said autopsies were performed Friday morning but that the Sheriff’s Office had not gotten the results as of Friday afternoon.

Faluotico was unsure how long the couple had been dead. Deputies found the bodies about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday after being told by an out-of-town relative that the couple hadn’t been heard from in more than 24 hours.

Faluotico said investigators found a “host of medications in and around the female victim in the house,” but he did not identify the drugs or conditions they might have treated.

The undersheriff said no motive for the murder-suicide had been established, though he noted Mrs. McCombs was the “aggressor” in previous domestic incidents at the house.

Faluotico said investigators also had not yet determined the origin of the small-caliber revolver used by Mrs. McCombs but were tracing it to the manufacturer.

The undersheriff said Paul McCombs was a self-employed contractor. He was unsure if Mrs McCombs worked.

Neighbors of the couple still were shaken on Friday by what had happened in the house that sits on an expansive property with a large fence encircling it. Two red lawn chairs in front of the house looked out over a gazebo and a manmade pond in the front yard.

Neighbor Bruce Garritt said he had known Bruce McCombs for at least 50 years and worked with him one winter at the Ulster County Highway Department.

“It was a real shock,” Garritt said of the murder-suicide. “He was always a hard worker. I’d see him out here taking care of his yard. We really hadn’t been close in the last few years, but I knew him and waved to him and had seen him at the post office.”

Faluotico said Paul and Sharon McCombs have grown children who live in the area and have been cooperating fully with authorities in the investigation.

“Our hearts go out to the children. It’s very hard for anyone to lose a parent, much less both parents at the same time,” the undersheriff said.

Source: Daily Freeman