The married couple who was found dead on Christmas inside a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall in an apparent murder-suicide has been identified as former congregants.
The Office of the Coroner of Adams and Broomfield Counties identified the couple Wednesday as 44-year-old Melissa Susanna Martinez and 46-year-old Enoch Noah Apodaca.
An autopsy has been performed on the pair and their causes of death are currently under investigation, the coroner’s office said in a press release.
Police in Thornton, about 10 miles north of Denver, said the two were former members of the congregation. The husband fatally shot his wife before turning the gun on himself.
Martinez and Apodaca were discovered at the Federal Heights Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall around 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
Along with the couple, authorities discovered three “suspicious devices,” which are currently being investigated by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office Hazardous Materials Unit.
Firefighters were originally called to the scene following reports of a fire, but the incendiary devices were rendered safe and police said there were no additional suspects and the community was not at threat.
No one else was injured as a result of the incident, police said.
The Sherrelwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses said they were “shocked and deeply saddened” by the Christmas morning shooting.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and loss of life at our Kingdom Hall in Thornton. We are cooperating with the authorities as they carry out their investigation into the event,” the congregation told ABC 7 Denver.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who have been traumatized by the heinous actions that took the life of an innocent victim and threatened the lives of many others. We are praying for the families of all those affected.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.