UPDATED 03-29-10: FORMER STATE SENATOR NANCY SCHAEFER (R-GA) AND HER HUSBAND, BRUCE, FOUND DEAD FROM, AS SOME SAY, AN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE (I’VE INCLUDED LINKS TO SOME IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT HER AND HER FIGHT AGAINST CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES)…
UPDATED: Monday, March 29, 2010 8:30 PM (My original post follows my update)
Here’s an update on this very sad story. They’re now saying that “apparently Bruce Schaefer was not suffering from a terminal disease, as reported earlier”. Hmmm…they claim that there was a 4-page suicide note left at the Shaefer’s home along with several notes for family members. Then they say it was probably “financial trouble”. Don’t you think it’s kind of strange that they’re both dead right after Nancy Schaefer unveils rampant corruption in Child Protective Services? Coincidence? I don’t believe there are too many “coincidences”. Call me an idiot, but I’m still not buying it. Even if their deaths are labeled as a murder-suicide, it could have been set up to look like one. This couple was married for 52 years, had five children and 13 grandchildren. I find it hard to believe that the husband, father and grandfather committed this atrocity upon himself and his beautiful wife while leaving their loving family behind to grieve. It just doesn’t add up—not this time…
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Few details were available Saturday, the day after the couple’s bodies were found. It could be weeks before autopsy results are available, Habersham county Coroner Kasey McEntire told the AJC Saturday.
Meanwhile, tributes and condolences continued to pour in from lawmakers and others.
“I had the privilege of serving with Nancy for several years in the State Senate and appreciated her kind heart and desire to serve the people of Georgia well. Nita and I will be praying for the entire Schaefer family and ask that the Lord will provide them with peace that passes all understanding during this difficult time,” Lt. Governor Casey Cagle said in a statement.
GBI spokesman John Bankhead told the AJC there will be a thorough investigation into what happened. He could not say who might have been the shooter. Six GBI agents and two crime scene technicians were at the scene of the Schaefer home in Habersham County Friday night.
An announcement was made around 7:30 p.m. Friday on the floor of the Georgia General Assembly.
Sen. Don Thomas, a physician and who said he knew the couple well, said he believed Bruce Schaefer, 74, had cancer.
“In those moments, you are not at your complete sanity,” said Thomas, of Dalton. “Some people figure the best way is to end it for both of you. They were married for so long. Loved each other so much. When you see somebody that you love so much, every now and then, you think the best way out of it is to go and be with the Lord. ”
Schaefer, a former Atlanta mayoral candidate and two-term senator, was beaten by Habersham County Commission Chairman Jim Butterworth in a north Georgia Republican runoff in 2008.
“This news hits the hearts of many in our community and I want to be among the first to express my deepest condolences to the family of Nancy and Bruce Schaefer. The Schaefer’s were a blessing to many who were privileged to know them,” Butterworth said in a statement.
Rep. Rick Austin made the announcement from the house floor of the couple’s death before the chamber observed a moment of silence. Austin represents Habersham and White counties, near Schaefer’s home.
“Nancy Schaefer was a great lady, and she served Georgia and her constituents with honor and grace,” Austin said.
Neill Herring, a veteran environmental lobbyist, said Schaefer came to symbolize “a period in Georgia history where the Christian right was really in the ascendancy. I almost feel like her defeat in the last election was a sign that that power had began to wane.”
Schaefer and her husband were the parents of five children and moved to Habersham County in North Georgia after living in Atlanta for 35 years. The daughter of a North Georgia Superior Court Judge and granddaughter of a state legislator, Schaefer, 73, entered the public eye in 1985 when she organized a Constitutional Liberties Rally in Atlanta.
The following year, she founded Schaefer Family Concerns, Inc., a nonprofit foundation dedicated to issues such as display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings and opposition to abortion.
She was the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor in 1994. In 1998, she sought the GOP nomination for governor.
According to her state senate biography, she was an eight year Trustee of the National Ethics and Religions Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). She represented Family Concerns and the SBC at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul, the U.N. Conference on Food in Rome, Italy and the U.N. follow up Conference to Beijing in New York.
She is a former First Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, a frequent speaker to churches of all denominations, a speaker to civic and political organizations, and a frequent guest on radio and local and national television programs across the nation. She was also a Sunday School Teacher.
Nancy Schaefer was chosen as a Gracious Lady of Georgia, served on numerous advisory boards and directorships and in 2001 became the first woman Trustee for Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, Georgia.
As a state senator, Schaefer represented the 50th district, including Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun, Stephens, and Towns Counties, as well as part of White County.
– Staff writers Ernie Suggs, Nancy Badertscher and Alexis Stevens contributed to this report