LIBBY – Lincoln County authorities are investigating after an elderly couple was found dead in a car near Troy on Monday afternoon.
Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe says the couple from Aberdeen, Wash., had been reported missing since August.
The couple, identified as 79-year-old Bruce Hulsman and 71-year-old Carol Jean Bruce, was initially reported missing by a family member after they indicated their intentions to commit suicide together in a Facebook post in late June.
Using credit card data, a detective from Aberdeen tracked their movements to Libby.
A Libby police officer spoke to the couple on Aug. 11 at a motel in town. The officer reported that the couple was in good health and that they denied plans to commit suicide. The officer concluded that there was not enough information to justify an involuntary mental evaluation.
A few days later a family member received a letter from Bruce indicating that she and Hulsman decided to commit suicide and to hide themselves in the most remote woods they could find.
The couple’s vehicle, covered with a tarp, was discovered by an area resident on Monday around 4:30 p.m. on a logging trail off a Forest Service road in the Keeler Rattle area.
Two deputies from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office determined the couple completed suicide.
“Further investigation working with the coroner’s office determined she died of strangulation and he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said Captain Bo Pitman.
The coroner’s office is working with the family to confirm identification.