Health Concerns

Daniel R. Heist, 83, and Michele A. Durling, 47, had had a relationship for a number of years. And though there was a difference in the ages, friends and neighbors say they seemed to get along.

Heist’s health seemed to be deterioriating and Durling recently asked a neighbor if he could help if she ever needed assistance lifting him. Still Heist was getting around and on Sunday night he contacted a home contractor and let him know that he had purchased a bathroom fixture at a home improvement store and asked that the contractor bring it to the home.

On Monday morning the contractor went to the home, but no one answered the door. The contractor noted the car in the driveway and left. Throughout the day he attempted to make contact with Heist several times, both by phone and in person, with no response. The contractor went back to the home about 10:45 pm. Concerned that he couldn’t rouse anyone at the home, he flagged down passing patrolmen. One of the patrolmen entered the home through an unlocked window.

They found the bodies of both Heist and Durling, both with a gunshot wound to the head. Heist was found in the bed under the covers police say he appeared to have been sleeping when he was shot. Durling was found with the weapon under her body. It is believed the shootings may have happened sometime Sunday night.

Along with the bodies, there were extensive handwritten notes to Durling’s family. Authorities say there did not appear to be any conflicts between the couple, but the notes described personal challenges and health related issues.

Not all violence is committed due to anger, rage and frustration. Some are more what is called ‘altrustic’.

Though I don’t post them often, I do see them. Aging, failing health sometimes even financial concerns seem to be what led up to the events. Often there is signs that the person fears their own ability to meet the challenges, sometimes they fear the other’s pain. Sometimes they may be feeling overwhelmed or even frustrated. Often there is depression.

Though aging and ill health are often natural facts of life, that does not make it easy to accept.

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