Two members of an Ohio family bluegrass band featured on ABC’s reality television series, Wife Swap, were shot and killed by a third member,25-year-old Jacob Stockdale. After police arrived at the family’s house on Thursday, Stockdale then shot himself in the head. Stockdale is now listed in critical condition in a Cleveland hospital and is being treated for his self-inflicted injury.
People reported that on Thursday, police officers in Beach City, Ohio, responded to a house they received a 911 hang-up call from. As the officers drew closer to the house, Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier said that the officers glimpsed someone through the open door of the house and then they heard a single gun shot, according to CBS News.
The responding police officers ran inside the house and discovered Stockdale lying on the floor clinging to his life. He was bleeding from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
Inside the residence, the officers found not only Jacob, but the bodies of James Stockdale, 21, one of Jacob Stockdale’s brothers, and the body of Jacob’s mother, Kathryn Stockdale, 54. They were killed by a shotgun.
Both James and Kathyrn Stockdale, along with Jacob, were fellow band members and had appeared on Wife Swap. Timothy Stockdale, the father of Jacob and Jim, was also a member of their bluegrass band, called the Stockdale Family Band.
Police in Ohio stated they believed that Jacob Stockdale shot and killed his younger brother and mother before turning his handgun on himself and tried to commit suicide. There has not been a motive released by the police at this time.
The episode of ABC’s reality television series, Wife Swap, that the Stockdale family was featured on was aired in 2008. The premise of Wife Swap involves two families from different backgrounds, who for a period of two weeks, swap wives.
On Wife Swap, the Stockdale family was portrayed as holding deeply religious points of view. The family had three self-imposed bans, on using curse words, playing video games, and watching television. The four brothers in the family were all homeschooled at the time the episode aired.
The Stockdale family’s father, Timothy, was not at the residence when the murders were committed. The family’s other two sons now live in a different town than the rest of the family.
In a written statement, Timothy called Kathy his “beloved wife of 32 years.” He described her as being a wonderful mother to their four sons, and Timothy added that she loved being both a mother and grandmother.
The Stockdale family’s oldest son, Calvin, described James, the youngest brother in the family, as having been “an aspiring entertainment businessman.” Calvin said that James had been attending college and working on a degree in business.
The Leicester Post reported that Calvin Stockdale was the banjo player for the Stockdale Family Band. Two years ago, in 2015, Calvin and his brother Jacob released a duet album together. He called James “a gifted musician” who also “had an innate love of people.”
Calvin Stockdale said in his statement that Jacob, who allegedly committed the murders of James and Kathyrn Stockdale, remains “in critical condition.” He added that the family is praying for his recovery as they make plans for the funerals of his mother and brother and start the healing process.
On Thursday, in Beach City, Ohio, Jacob Stockdale allegedly shot and killed the family’s youngest brother, James, and their mother, Kathyrn. The entire Stockdale family appeared in an episode of ABC’s Wife Swap in 2008. At this time, the police in Ohio, as of Friday, had not filed any criminal charges in the case. Law enforcement officials in Stark County are currently trying to establish a motive for the double murder and attempted suicide. They are still investigating evidence in the case.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Stockdale Family Band