Berlinville Tragedy|Coroner: Wife may have been strangled first

BERLIN TWP. Tom Jensen might have strangled his wife before he shot her in the head, the county coroner said.
May 24, 2010



Tom Jensen might have strangled his wife before he shot her in the head, the county coroner said.

Erie County Coroner Dr. Brian Baxter said the preliminary autopsy would not be ready until today, but said Melanie Jensen either died of the gun shot wound or strangulation.

“We’re not sure what came first,” Baxter said. “Apparently, she was unconscious and then he came back and shot her. It’s going to be very tough to figure out what came first.”

Tom Jensen, 43, killed his wife and then himself after a four-hour standoff with police Friday night at his home at 5903 Ohio 113, reports state.

Erie County Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Sigsworth said Tom Jensen might have been under the influence of alcohol, but it was not a “major issue.” There was no indication that Tom Jensen was on any other drugs.

“It’s a sad thing for the family,” Sigsworth said. “A tragic thing.”

Both bodies were sent to the Lucas County Coroner’s office in Toledo for an autopsy.

The final autopsy report will be ready within three to four weeks while the toxicology report will not be ready until five to six weeks, Baxter said.

While some neighbors have spoken out, family members remain silent.

“We’re not prepared to give any statements at this time. Thank you,” said Zachary Hemmer, Melanie Jensen’s brother.

No numbers were listed for any of Tom Jensen’s relatives.

Authorities said Melanie Jensen, 34, was shot once in the head at 6:50 p.m.

The first deputies at the scene talked to the daughters, who said a fight had taken place and at least one shot had been fired, reports show.

Deputies made a forced entry and found Melanie Jensen’s body in the dining room, Sigsworth said. They searched for Tom Jensen and found him barricaded in the workroom of his garage.

Four hours of negotiations broke down at 11:14 p.m. when Tom Jensen shot himself in the head with a .357 Magnum handgun, deputies said.

As far as investigators can tell, the shooting was result of a domestic dispute that turned violent.

One of the three daughters may have witnessed her mother’s murder, Sigsworth said. Two of the daughters are teens, and one is an adolescent, he said.

The Jensen daughters are staying with relatives in the area.

Authorities said they were not aware of any past domestic violence complaints against Tom Jensen.

Funeral services for Tom and Melanie Jensen are scheduled at 10 a.m. Thursday at Groff Funeral Home in Sandusky.