Neighbors were horrified by an apparent murder-suicide in Venice Wednesday, saying that by all accounts, the couple loved each other and were lifelong best friends.
When the 85-year-old woman, Nancy Wright, got Alzheimer's, her husband Jack doted on her, until apparently he saw no other way out. The two were found dead in their Venice home Wednesday morning.
"I know they always said they'd live and die together," said neighbor Diana Bergamini, who said she has known Jack and Nancy Wright for more than 50 years.
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The Los Angeles Police Department was called to the couple's home in the 1000 block of Palms Boulevard at 7 a.m.
Investigators said construction workers building a home next door found the body of 83-year-old Charles "Jack" Wright hanging from a tree in the back yard. He'd also been shot.
"It appears the husband killed the wife and then took his own life afterwards," said Lt. John Radtke.
His 85-year-old wife Nancy was found shot to death in a front bedroom.
LAPD officers said they found a lengthy suicide note from Jack explaining he and his wife had previously discussed a murder-suicide plot.
"Based on his note, she suffered from dementia and pain," Radtke said. "It looks like they contemplated this for a while."
Bergamini said she never saw a couple so in love. They were inseparable -- retired teachers from Palisades High School.
Nancy's worsening dementia caused her to become increasingly agitated in recent months, Bergamini said.
"He said he was losing sleep. She wandered the house. He changed the locks so she wouldn't go out," Bergamini said.
California's Right-to-Die law legalizing assisted suicide took effect in June but requires the patient to be able to make health decisions, and have an illness that would end their life within six months, so it would not have applied in the Wright's case.
"I think it's a desperate decision and for him to take his life also," Bergamini said. "To know if she's going, he's going -- when he was completely healthy and had lots to live for."
The Wrights had no children, but are survived by several nieces.