A night of celebration ended in tragedy in the early morning hours Sunday when a Lincoln County man apparently shot his brother-in-law, wife and then turned the gun on himself after an argument at their home in the Windwood development in southern Lincoln County.
According to Sheriff Murray Blackwelder, the deceased in the double murder-suicide are identified as Jeff Faulkner, age 50, of Fayetteville, his wife, Julaine Marie Faulkner, 38, of Fayetteville, and her brother, Ryan Dale Oetken, 34, of Cartersville, Ga.
“They had celebrated her birthday Saturday evening,” said the sheriff, referring to Mrs. Faulkner’s birthday. “The couple, along with her brother from Georgia and another couple had returned to their home.
“When they got there, an argument ensued that appears to have escalated in another room. The brother-in-law went in to try to calm the situation, and a shot rang out.”
The visiting couple ran from the house as additional shots were fired and called 911, said Blackwelder, noting that the call came in to emergency dispatchers at approximately 1:55 a.m. Sunday morning. Deputies arrived on the scene shortly, entered the residence and found the three deceased individuals. The bodies were sent to the state medical examiner for autopsy and positive identification.
“This was a horrible tragedy,” the sheriff continued, “one that I hope no one here ever sees again.”
Authorities had not been called to the residence previously – “From everything we know, there weren’t any indicators that anything like this might occur,” he said.
The couple has a 4-year-old daughter who was staying with a babysitter at another location when the chain of events occurred. She is currently in the temporary custody of her grandparents and the state Department of Children’s Services.
Both Mrs. Faulkner and Mr. Oetken were natives of Burlington, Iowa, where their services are planned to be held at the Lunning Chapel. They are both survived by their parents, Ronald and Janet Schwerin Oetken of Burlington.
Mrs. Faulkner was employed by FTI Consulting, and Mr. Oetken was employed as a quality control troubleshooter for Shaw Industries. She is survived by her daughter, Lauren Marie Faulkner of Fayetteville, her brother, Todd Oetken of Burlington, and her sister, Railynne Brown of Spring, Texas. Mr. Oetken is also survived by a son, Caelin Dale Oetken of Cartersville. Higgins Funeral Home is assisting both families.
Mr. Faulkner’s survivors and arrangements had not been announced as of press time Monday afternoon.