Saturday, March 10, 2012

Jefferson County, OH: Ohio Couple Found Dead Is Identified

The names of an elderly couple found dead in their home on County Road 15 on Tuesday morning in an apparent homicide-suicide case have been released.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said evidence indicates Eugene "Jeep" Tovinitti, 84, shot his wife, 82-year-old Phyllis Tovinitti, and then himself early Tuesday.

Abdalla said the motive for the shootings isn't known.

A family member wasn't aware of any disputes between the two or major financial or health problems that may have led to the shootings, he said.

"We just don't know. We probably never will," the sheriff said. "You just never know what may be going through someone's mind.

"It's a terrible situation - a sad, sad situation. They were good people," he said.

Abdalla said Eugene Tovinitti, a retired steelworker and military veteran, and Phyllis Tovinitti had four children living in Columbus, Colorado and Utah.

According to police reports, a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy was dispatched to the home at about 10:49 a.m. after a call was received from a concerned neighbor.

The woman had arranged to take Phyllis Tovinitti grocery shopping at 10 a.m. but no one answered the door, according to reports.

The deputy forced open the door and found Phyllis Tovinitti's body slumped over, in a kneeling position, in the kitchen doorway; and Eugene Tovinitti's body lying on the living room floor with a gunshot wound to his head.

A 12-gauge shotgun, with a spent casing in the chamber and a live round in the magazine, was found nearby. A shell casing also was found on the floor near the gun. Both had money on them, the reports said.

An emergency medical technician confirmed their deaths, the reports said.

The neighbor said she had last seen Phyllis Tovinitti at noon Monday while she was going to get her mail.

The neighbor said the couple, who were advancing in age, some time ago had told her to contact the local funeral home if anything happened to them, according to police reports.

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