Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their homes to the foreclosure crisis, and sadly some would rather face death than eviction.
Robert T. Nusser, 68, of Athens, Ohio reportedly shot his wife Paulette, 64, then turned the gun on himself the day after authorities ordered that he vacate his home, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Nusser made a 911 call early Monday morning to report a murder-suicide at his home, adding "I’m the one that caused it” before hanging up. Police arrived at the scene to find a fatal gunshot wound in each of the Nussers and a suicide note by Robert explaining that he didn't want to burden his family.
Tragically, as the foreclosure crisis has hit millions of Americans, eviction-related suicides have become more common. Just this week, Andrew Wordes of Georgia reportedly lit his house on fire while still inside when police arrived to evict him. Nicknamed the "Chicken Man," Wordes fell behind on his mortgage payments when he was jailed for property code violations related to the number of chickens he owned, the International Business Times reports.
Also this week, Kelli Sly, a 23-year-old Iowa mother, killed her toddler son before crashing her car headlong into a bridge support, The Daily Mail reports. Sly reportedly faced imminent eviction from her apartment, but had also struggled with a history of depression and domestic abuse, according to friends and relatives.
Others faced with the prospect of losing their homes have taken less self-destructive measures to avoid eviction. Civil rights activist Helen Bailey, 78, is now allowed to keep her home indefinitely thanks to a campaign led by Occupy Nashville and the Black Leadership Forum that brought national attention to her situation. Likewise, a terminally ill woman in Sacramento was granted permission by Bank of America to stay in her home last year when the bank's attempts to evict her were picked up by a local newspaper, The Sacramento Bee.
In one strange case, a suicide attempt in 2008 was actually responsible for saving one 90-year-old woman's Akron, Ohio home from foreclosure. After surviving two self-inflicted gunshot wounds, her lender Fannie Mae decided to sign the property "outright" to her, CNN reports.