A Minnesota husband and wife who were each battling cancer were found dead inside their rural home from a murder-suicide on Tuesday, authorities say.
Just after 9 a.m., deputies from the Becker County Sheriff’s Office were called to a Detroit Lakes home and found the bodies of Steven Alton Stearns, 45, and Stacy Lynn Stearns, 49, and their two dogs inside, the sheriff’s office said in a release.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Stacy’s death a homicide and Steven’s death a suicide, according to the sheriff’s office.
The couple had just celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary on Sept. 21.
Their joint Facebook page shows them in happy times — dancing together, relaxing on a boat and snuggling with their dogs.
But they were also facing some tough challenges. Steven was recently diagnosed with lung cancer that was too advanced to treat, according to a close friend reports.
Stacy was suffering from stomach cancer.
Just before their deaths, they posted a message on their Facebook page, which read: “To our loved ones. We chose to leave this world as we lived in it,” the Forum reports.
“In love and together. Our only regret is the sorrow to our loved ones. Remember the laughter and happiness We love you. Goodbye.”
Tammy Lawrence, a close friend of the couple, told the Forum that Steven had confided in her about their plans to end their lives.
“He made me promise not to say anything to anybody,” she told the Forum. “Stacy did not want him to tell me, but he said I can’t look in your eyes and lie to you anymore, and somebody has to be able to tell people why we are going to do what we were going to do.”
She added: “They wanted to go together with their dogs.”
He posted a short will on Facebook just before he called 911 on Tuesday, the Forum reports.
The couple had no children and considered their dogs to be their kids, Lawrence said.