YORK, Pa (TIP): Authorities in central Pennsylvania have released the names of the Indian American man and woman killed in an apparent murder-suicide, AP reported last week. Police in York County say the bodies of 43-year-old Parag Patel and 41-year-old Niha Patel were found in their Manchester Township home at about 1:45 p.m. April 2. Chief Deputy Coroner Claude Stabley said the two apparently died between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. that morning. Stabley said the woman was in bed and may have been asleep when she was shot in the head.
The man was found on the floor next to the bed with a single gunshot wound to the chest. Stabley ruled the case a murdersuicide and said no autopsies were planned. He said investigators had determined that the couple had been having marital problems although no note was found. According to a report in the York Daily Record, the couple was described by neighbors as outgoing and friendly. Parag Patel shot his wife Niha in the head before taking his own life in the family home in the 900 block of Hedgegate Lane, said Stabley.
Both are believed to have died instantly, he added. Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said police were called to the scene about 1:43 p.m. Police said Niha Patel’s mother was in the home at the time of the shooting, but according to a report in pennlive.com, she told police that she did not hear anything out of the ordinary, police said. Stabley added that two other adults were also in the home, but he didn’t know their relationship to the couple. It was unclear who made the call to 911.
The couple’s two school-age children were not home at the time of the shooting, police stated. Stabley said the .38-caliber gun used in the shooting didn’t make much sound because the gun was held close to the victims. Neighbors Nadine Freeman-Bennett and Kayli Ashman-Grove said the family took pride in their home and had recently spent a lot of time and money investing in the landscaping and building a new back deck. Ashman-Grove said Parag Patel would bring his snowblower over to clear her driveway in the winter.
He also was friendly and often waved or said hello. “It’s heartbreaking,” Ashman-Grove told the York Daily Record. Freeman-Bennett said, while she was surprised such tragedy would come from this family, the neighborhood has gone through some rough times. Police had been in the neighborhood at different times for drug-related incidents and other domestic issues at surrounding homes. “It isn’t always the way it looks,” Freeman-Bennett said of the community. Freeman-Bennett told the Record that Niha Patel was running as a board member for the neighborhood association. The two had just met two weeks ago to talk about the next meeting. Both women said it was hard to think the home was now empty. “They weren’t the kind of family I would have expected that from,” Ashman-Grove said.