Thursday, November 1, 2012
he Sheriff's Office said a Volusia County woman was shot multiple times by her husband before he killed himself in a murder-suicide in their home near Ormond Beach. An autopsy on Wednesday showed that Joyce Ryals, 74, was shot several times by James Ryals, 73, whose body had one fatal gunshot wound, said sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson. The bodies of the couple were found late Tuesday when deputies went to 141 E. Woodhaven Circle near Ormond Beach to do a well-being check, Davidson said. The Ryals were found in a bathroom. Deputies also discovered a gun and note at the scene, Davidson said. "Two different handguns were used in the shootings. Both weapons were recovered in the bathroom where the bodies were found," Davidson said. Deputies went to the home at 11:48 p.m. after a family member of the couple called from New Jersey expressing concern they could not be reached, Davidson said. The last time family members spoke to them was Monday, so the deaths took place sometime between Monday and when the bodies were found Tuesday night, Davidson said. A neighbor who lives directly across the street from the Ryals' home said she saw the couple in their front yard on Tuesday and they seemed fine. Neighbor Stacy Stemmle, who lives next to the Ryals house, said she hadn't seen them in several weeks. "I used to see him gardening all the time," Stemmle said Wednesday. "He was always outside. He would talk to my husband and my dad." Stemmle said James Ryals told her father that he and Joyce Ryals had each been married four other times. Stemmle said they each had children, but not together. On Aug. 29, 2011, deputies went to the Ryals' home after being called to a disturbance. In that incident, James Ryals told deputies he and his wife were arguing and Joyce threw a slipper at him and he threw it back at her. James Ryals said his wife told him "he was worthless because he only has one leg" and "never lets her do what she wants," an incident report states. At the time, Joyce Ryals told deputies she gets very angry when her husband does not let her do certain things and that "she is tired of the abuse," deputies said. The Ryalses told deputies their marriage had been very hard, they always argued with each other, and never agreed on anything for the past eight years, the report states.