COVERT — When describing Edward and Terese Gorenz, friends and family use such terms as “sweethearts, “great people” and “loving.
But apparently something went terribly wrong, as last week Covert Township Police found the couple dead in their home at 72201 County Road 376, in what police are calling a murder-suicide.
They were both 60 years old.
“We’re 99 percent certain it was a murder-suicide,” said Covert Police Chief Jay Allen, whose department has been investigating since the deaths were discovered. The cause of their was announced Monday, after Covert Township Police reviewed evidence with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department and obtained results from autopsies performed on Friday.
Both died after being shot with a 12-gauge shotgun, police said.
“She (Terese Gorenz) was shot in the back of the head. He took his own life and left a suicide note,” Allen said.
“He (Edward) made it sound (in the suicide note) like it was mutual.” However, Allen went on to say that it still has not been entirely determined whether Terese was murdered, or was a willing participant.
“We are ruling it murder-suicide because she was shot in the back of the head and he took his own life,” Allen said.
Just what caused the tragedy is not clear at this time, according to Allen. “We don’t have a real motive,” he said. “We had no reason to think there was a problem. This is a shock to all of us.”
“This is horrible,” said Heidi Oliver, one of the couple’s four grown children, in a phone interview on Monday. “They were wonderful people, loved by everyone. My mom was very friendly. My dad a little more quiet. It’s hard to see them in this light. Nobody would ever have seen this coming. It’s so hard to tell people. I don’t even know what to say. Nothing about it is normal.”
Police were alerted to trouble on Thursday when a Covert Township firefighter received a text sent from the phone of Terese Gorenz.
“The fireman received a text from Mrs. Gorenz saying they had been called home to God, and to call 911,” Allen said. The text went on to read that the bodies from the home should be removed and that the door to the home would be left open for first responders.
Covert police were the first to arrive at the home. They were assisted in processing the scene by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department and Pokagon Tribal Police.
The Gorenzes had lived in Covert Township for several decades. They raised their children at their home on County Road 376. Ed had his own construction company at one time and then became a handyman, performing a variety of jobs for people in the community. Terese worked at Dollar General in Covert, and at Harding’s Friendly Market in Coloma up until several months ago.
Hardings store employees were, naturally, surprised to hear of the couple’s death.
“Everybody was in shock,” a store manager said.
One of the Harding’s employees posted on the couple’s online obituary condolences, stating: “I will truly miss this wonderful lady. I am sure I speak for many when I say she was a bright spot in my day. Her smile always welcoming and her laugh was contagious. She had a sense of humor that kept us all going, and she sincerely cared about all of us.”