CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dr. Bruce Foster believed death was an end to physical suffering and specialized in helping his terminally ill patients overcome their fear of it. He lightly referred to death as "graduating."
Detectives continue to investigate what led Foster, 63, to apparently shoot his wife, Marlise, 64, and then himself Monday at their home along Flairwood Drive in Cross Lanes.
Cpl. Brian Humphreys, of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, said Tuesday detectives are tracing who owns the revolver used in the apparent murder-suicide.
The couple each were killed by one gunshot to the head. Detectives found the revolver in Foster's hand. There wasn't a suicide note or anything like it found, Humphreys said.
"Investigators are not releasing the possible motives at this time as the investigation is ongoing," Humphreys said.
Neighbors said the couple, although private, appeared to be very much in love and never showed signs of fighting or violence. A neighbor and co-workers found Foster's arm draped over his wife's body after not hearing from him since Saturday.
Bruce Foster was chairman of ethics at Thomas Memorial Hospital. Marlise Foster managed his office.
Ernest Trent, a former patient and friend, said Bruce always talked fondly of Marlise, but never discussed her ongoing health problems. Neighbors said she suffered from kidney trouble, had only one kidney for most of her life, and had been ill for the past couple of months.
Trent, 61, of St. Albans, believes Foster wanted to help his ill wife "graduate" from her pain and suffering.
Trent met Foster about four years ago because his father, Raymond Trent, was also his patient. He remembered him as a jolly doctor who was always laughing and decorating his South Charleston office with cartoons and humorous quotes.
Foster helped Ernest Trent with his ongoing diabetes complications and later when the elder Trent's health worsened.