Police: Two elderly cousins found dead inside Lenoir home ruled murder-suicide

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Lenoir Police are investigating after two 74-year-old men were found dead inside a home on Wednesday.

Lenoir PD was notified by the Caldwell County EMS around 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday of the two men found dead inside a home. 

Officers arrived at the home and secured the scene. Johnny Ben Church and Gwen Lee Kirby appeared to have died from unnatural causes and both have been sent for a medical autopsy, according to police.

“We located two individuals inside the residence," said Captain Brent Phelps. "The two individuals are related… they are cousins… and we are attempting to determine the cause of death." 


Police say preliminary medical reports reveal the incident was a murder-suicide.

Church’s grandson told Fox46 Charlotte his uncle found the bodies inside their shared residence. 

Police would not say if bodies had any wounds, but told Fox46 Charlotte they found some strange things inside the home that call for further investigation. They do not believe it was a random act of violence. 

“Our Investigators and the State Bureau of Investigation we have collected evidence, processed, done a lot of interviews in the neighborhood,” said Captain Phelps. 

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation are asked to contact The Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100 or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers at 828-758-8300. The investigation is ongoing at this time.