Couple discovered dead in apparent murder-suicide as divorce was being finalised
MANDEVILLE, Manchester: January 3 – the date once recognised as the Ellises wedding anniversary – has now become tainted for their relatives and friends, whose most vivid memory will now be that of a wife lying in a pool of blood and a husband...
January 3 – the date once recognised as the Ellises wedding anniversary – has now become tainted for their relatives and friends, whose most vivid memory will now be that of a wife lying in a pool of blood and a husband hanging at the back of their home.
Acting on a missing person's report, the police visited the couple's Bonitto Crescent home in Manchester on Tuesday and stumbled upon the bodies of 48-year-old former taxi operator Keith 'Ricky' Ellis, and his 43-year-old wife, Stephanie, a former loans officer at a bank in Mandeville.
According to police, Stephanie, who was found with a wound to the head, is believed to have been bludgeoned with a crowbar.
Their deaths are believed to be a case of murder-suicide.
Relatives told The Gleaner that despite a known breakdown in the couple's more than a decade-long marriage and with plans in motion for a divorce, they could not have anticipated the tragic end.
“They were together for about 20 years and married for about 15 to 17 years, but I heard about two months ago that they wanted to be divorced,” said Keith's mother, Ivy Nembhard.
She said that when her son was first served with the divorce papers, he refused to sign them. However, after retaining the services of a lawyer, he began to follow through with the process.
“I think it was actually today that the lawyers were supposed to get the signed documents, but the whole thing was stressing him out. Him go America some time ago and him get all stroke,” Nembhard further disclosed.
She claimed that her son had expressed his displeasure with marriage on more than one occasion, as he was being criticised for snoring loudly, among other things considered to be trivial.
“Him come a mi house this morning about 6 and him bring about 12 pairs of shoes and ask my granddaughter to clean them for him. Him come dress up, and said he was going out, but I didn't ask him where he was going because mi know him used to bring people [to the] airport … . I didn't know this was going to be the last time [I would see him alive],” she said, as her whimpers morphed into loud wails.
The deceased were described as quiet and respected people who were loved by many.
“A Sunday all a we have dinner together. Stephanie was so nice and quiet and Ricky was such a nice guy to me … . I knew about their plans to divorce and I was going to ask her why she don't find somewhere else to live, but I say, mek mi just leave it because I have never seen them quarrel and Ricky never came off as violent,” said Alford Hewitt, Stephanie's uncle. “When I hear this, I fell down on the ground.”
Taxi operators plying the New Green to Mandeville route were equally as shocked and heartbroken.
“It is sad. We know Ricky from long time in the taxi business and we know Stephanie, and now this shocking news just three days into the new year. They were together for a long time, from she was at Church Teachers' College, and fi them come up now and them just lose them life, ... it is sad,” said Junior, one of Keith's former colleagues.
It was a busy day for the Manchester police as less than four hours earlier, they had been called to the scene of a double murder in Providence district.
The bodies of 52-year-old Althea Rowe and her 35-year-old son, Cleon Palmer, were discovered by relatives at their home about 11 a.m. after being unable to reach them since late last week.