For Immediate Release
May 12, 2011
Jeffery A. Strelzin, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Chief, Homicide Unit
New Hampshire Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert Quinn and Charlestown Police Chief Edward C. Smith announce that the investigation has been completed in connection with a fatal incident that took place on August 19, 2010, in Charlestown, New Hampshire.
On Thursday, August 19, 2010, at approximately 4:47 a.m., Charlestown Police Officers responded to a 911 call from a male subject at 431 Sam Putnam Road in Charlestown. The male, was later identified as Roderic A. Lavoie (age 48), said that he wanted to report a murder/suicide and then stated that he could not stay on the line because he was the other half. Several police officers headed to the Lavoie residence and while en-route were notified that Roderic Lavoie's mother had called to notify the police that her son had called her and said he had killed his wife and was going to kill himself.
When the police arrived at the Lavoie residence, they found Roderic and Bettina Lavoie (age 50) deceased, sitting together on a bench at the rear of the home. A 9 mm handgun was found on the ground near Mr. Lavoie's foot. After a brief search inside the Lavoie's home, two typewritten letters from Roderic Lavoie were located on the kitchen table. One was entitled "After I Die," and contained directions for the distribution of property and the arrangements for him and his wife's bodies. The other letter was entitled "What Happened," and indicated that Roderic had been ill and that he and his wife had been experiencing marital problems because she had told him that she wanted to leave him and he suspected she was seeing someone else. The letter also indicated that Roderic had put a GPS tracking device on Bettina's car and learned she was going somewhere besides home after work.
The scene was secured after the initial search and then the Attorney General's Office and State Police Major Crime Unit were notified.
Further investigation revealed that one of the Lavoie's neighbors had heard shouting and gunshots at around 4:40 a.m. on August 19, 2010. She did not immediately report what she heard because she believed it was someone shooting at an animal in their garden.
As part of their investigation, the State police also contacted Bettina Lavoie's place of employment. They learned that she was due at work at 5:00 a.m. on August 19, 2010, but did not show up or call in. A male co-worker also confirmed that he had been having a romantic relationship with Mrs. Lavoie, thereby corroborating some of the statements Roderic Lavoie had made in one of the letters he left behind. This male co-worker also told the State Police that Bettina Lavoie had told him that her husband would probably shoot them both if he found out she was involved with another man.
The State Police also conducted a search of the areas inside and outside the Lavoie home. Based on the evidence at the scene, the State Police determined that Bettina Lavoie was shot as she went out to her car to go to work. After shooting her, Roderic Lavoie dragged his wife's body onto the bench at the rear of the home, sat down next to her and called his mother and then 911. After making those calls, Roderic Lavoie shot and killed himself.
The State's Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Jennie V. Duval conducted autopsies on the Lavoie's and determined that Bettina Lavoie's cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the abdomen and her manner of death is homicide. Roderic Lavoie's cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head and his manner of death is suicide.
Based on all the facts and circumstances, the evidence indicates that Roderic and Bettina Lavoie were having marital problems after approximately twenty-eight years of marriage. Around July of 2010, Roderic informed his mother and son about those marital problems. Roderic also told his mother that he would not do anything "stupid" like his brother had done. By that, Roderic was referring to the fact that his brother had committed suicide approximately sixteen years earlier because of marital issues.
At some point prior to the incident, Bettina told Roderic that she wanted to leave him. Roderic took steps to determine if his wife was involved in another relationship, including looking at her phone call records, her e-mails, and putting a GPS tracking device on her car. It appears that Roderic was able to confirm that Bettina was involved with someone else and decided to kill himself. Roderic said that he was in a lot of pain from physical issues and had thought about suicide before. However, he decided that he did not want Bettina to benefit from his death and so apparently decided to kill her as well. Roderic acted on his plans on August 19, 2010, by killing Bettina and then himself.
In light of the circumstances of this incident, no charges will be brought and the matter will be closed.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301