Police identify bodies in New Market murder-suicide

The home of Edward Joseph Nonnemacher, 77, is shown at 178 Foothills Lane in the Sundance subdivision east of New Market. On Tuesday evening, Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office personnel found the bodies of Nonnemacher and Deborah June Ward, 58. Rich Cooley/Daily
Bonnie Seman

NEW MARKET – The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office has identified the two bodies found in an apparent murder-suicide.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter said Edward Joseph Nonnemacher, 77, and Deborah June Ward, 58, were found at Nonnemacher’s residence at 178 Foothills Lane just east of New Market early Tuesday evening.

Following an autopsy conducted Wednesday morning, Carter said the deaths most likely occurred between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Deputies found the bodies when they responded to a call from a member of Ward’s family, who requested they check on her well-being. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the bodies in separate rooms of the house.

Preliminary autopsy findings indicate Nonnemacher died from a self-inflicted gunshot wounds from a small caliber firearm, and Ward suffered several wounds, also from a small caliber firearm.

Carter declined to specify which rooms of the home the bodies were found in.

A search warrant was executed at Nonnemacher’s home and a .22 caliber rifle, a .38 caliber handgun, and three hand-written notes were recovered, according a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Carter declined to identify who wrote the three notes.

The release stated that there was no sign of forced entry. Carter said Wednesday afternoon that he does not believe there was a third party involved.

“The incident is isolated to these two individuals,” he said. “I have no information that would lead us to believe that there is anyone other than those two involved in this incident.”

Bonnie Seman lives in the same development as Ward and Nonnemacher. She said Nonnemacher was a good neighbor who helped her plow snow from her driveway every winter.

Despite Nonnemacher’s neighborly qualities, she described his and Ward’s relationship as precarious and said she thought Ward had moved out for some time because her car had not been present in the driveway.

“I don’t know what the relationship was,” she said. “I don’t know if there was any. I just know that she first moved in because he was alone. Then she just kind of stayed. It was kind of a tumultuous relationship.”

Another neighbor, Bill Klinck, said Nonnemacher was a good neighbor who was president of the development’s homeowners association and could frequently be seen riding around on his lawn mower. Klinck said he didn’t know the two especially well, but said the news came as a shock to him.

“I don’t know what the hell happened to them or what triggered it, they both seemed fine to me,” he said.

New Market police, Woodstock police, Strasburg police and the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s Office are assisting in the investigation.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com

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