Margaret "Susan" and Paul "Brian" Brooks (family photo)
Family members say the couple who were found murdered in their sons lake house on January 31st were high school sweethearts who would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July.
Paul "Brian" Brooks, 70, and Margaret "Susan" Brooks, 69, escaped the brutal winters in Michigan and wintered at their son Patrick’s lake house on Table Rock near Lampe.
The couple, who were reared in Windsor, Ontario, raised three son's who all have become physician's. The couple moved to a lake home near Baldwin, Michigan after Brian retired from working in Detroit for an automobile manufacturer. Susan, dedicated her life to raising her family. They became U.S. citizens shortly after Mr. Brookses retirement.
“Susan and Brian spent their retirement years watching each of their nine grandchildren grow, filling their days with more memories than any one person could possibly remember,” a statement from the family said.
Christopher Allen and Anthony Zarro were charged in juvenile court on Monday (02-04-13) with two counts of first degree murder, armed criminal action and burglary. Juvenile authorities in Stone County say they intend to ask the court to certify the boys be charged as adults and tried in state court.
Sheriff Doug Rader says the Brookses were beaten and stabbed to death. He says he will have to wait on final autopsy reports to determine how the couple was dead before they were found.
The boys were runaways from Lives Under Construction, a "ranch" for boys who have had problems with the law and/or family.
A neighbor held the boy's at gunpoint after noticing "suspicious" behavior near the 1722 Trace Hollow residence. "We wish to thank the heroes that choose to remain nameless, but to whom we will be forever indebted, for calling the authorities and apprehending the suspects. We can never say thank you enough," the family of the Brooks said in a statement to the media.The family says they are leaning on their faith to help them deal with the tragedy. "This was a senseless act of violence carried out upon a defenseless , loving couple. In this truly difficult time, we see evidence of God’s abundant grace and have many things to be thankful for."
Sheriff Doug Rader, who assumed office less than a month before the double homicide, says he is working with resort owners and people who live near the ranch about a notification system that would let them know if someone had runaway from the facility for at risk boys who range in age from 7 to 21 years of age. Rader says there are indicattions that the boy's had been hiding out in a vacant house next door to the house, which is about three miles from the ranch, where the couple were slain.
Some of the boys are from out of state, and Rader says the previous administration, headed by Richard Hill, would only notify authorities in the jurisdictions the boys came from.
"We wish to thank the members of the Stone County Sheriff’s Office, especially Sheriff Rader, for the kindness and compassion shown to our family. We appreciate the professionalism and attention to detail of this department, that of Prosecutor Matt Selby, and Coroner Rick Stumpff, to ensure that the individuals that have committed these crimes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said the family.
The outpouring of love and kindness by people here and in communities that were touched by Susan and Brian was also acknowledged in the statement, "We wish to thank the tremendous outpouring of love and kindness by each of our communities scattered about the country. Your expressions of kindness are too numerous to mention but confirm for us the importance of relationships and community. We are humbled and blessed."