By: Alex Mazer, Multimedia Content Producer - email
LICKING COUNTY, Ohio -
The Licking County Sheriff's Office is investigating an apparent
murder-suicide that occurred at a Pataskala home Monday night.
According to Sheriff Randy Thorp, deputies were dispatched to a home on the
11000 block of Ruessner Road SW for a well-being check at about 7:30 p.m.
Family members of one of the residents, 38-year-old Kendra Stokes, told
deputies they had not heard from her in several days. They stated they had
spoken to her husband, Mark Stokes, 45, who had told them he had not seen
Responding deputies were given permission to enter the home by a family
member who was in possession of a key. As deputies were entering the home, they
reported hearing two gunshots fired in an upstairs bedroom.
The deputies retreated to a safe location outside of the home and called for
the Licking County SWAT team and additional units to respond. SWAT officers surrounded
the house and made multiple attempts to contact the occupants of the home, but
they were unsuccessful.
Gas canisters were used in an attempt to force the occupants out, according
to the sheriff's office.
At about 11 p.m., SWAT officers were able to enter the home.
Inside the home they found the bodies of a Mark and Kendra Stokes in
separate upstairs bedrooms. Each had sustained at least one gunshot wound,
according to the sheriff's office.
According to the sheriff's office, it appeared that Kendra had been deceased
for several days. It also appeared that Mark had died of an apparent
self-inflicted gunshot wound.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause and time of death for
Kendra and Mark Stokes.
A .380 caliber handgun was recovered from the scene, according to the
Dispatchers for Licking County tell NBC4 that investigators remained
at the scene until about 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Thorp said that his investigators are treating the incident as a
murder-suicide. The investigation continues.