Ironwood, MI (NNCNOW.com) --- Authorities are investigating a murder-suicide in Ironwood Michigan.
Authorities say it appears that David Rudolph Mukavitz, 83, shot and killed his wife Constance Helen Mukavitz, 77 and then himself.
Officials say they responded to the home located at 88 Burt Street in Ironwood to find them both deceased from apparent gunshot wounds.
The incident happened Monday morning.
Authorities say the couple were in ill health which may have been a contributing factor.
Neighbors we spoke declined to go on camera, but say Dave was suffering from terminal cancer. Connie, a former school teacher, was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
Psychologists say life altering illnesses such as these can bring about depression in the elderly which could lead to situations like this one.
Experts say the man is more likely to be the one to make the decision to kill his spouse and then himself for several reasons.
"The depression can come about because he is really angry or upset about their situation, a lot of times it's about feeling hopeless, like there is nothing that can be done to help either of them," said Dr. Douglas Heck, a psychologist at the Duluth Psychological Clinic.
Heck said sometimes the depression is not because people are unhappy but because of what is changing in the brain.
Neighbors say Dave had been Connie's primary caretaker for more than a decade.
Recently, his terminal cancer had gotten worse.
Friends describe the incident as a mercy killing, because Dave didn't want his wife to be left alone, if he were to die of cancer.
Their children and grandchildren live out of town.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depression affects more than 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and older.
Depression in older people is closely associated with dependency and disability.
Experts say the biggest signal that a loved one is depressed is when they start to pull away from others, isolating themselves.
They might also become angry, sad, or stop taking care of themselves.
The Ironwood Public Safety Department is leading the investigation with assistance from the Michigan State Police Crime Lab and the Gogebic County Prosecutor’s Office.