Woman killed in Wapiti; husband named as suspect

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A 76-year-old man killed his wife and then attempted to take his own life on Sunday night in the Wapiti area, the Park County Sheriff’s Office alleges.

The Sheriff’s Office identified the deceased as Donna M. Klingbeil, 75, and named her husband, Dennis K. Klingbeil, as the suspect in the homicide.

On Monday afternoon, Dennis Klingbeil was being treated at West Park Hospital in Cody for an apparent overdose, the release indicated.

“[Dennis Klingbeil’s] condition is unknown at this time but he is being guarded by a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office pending charges,” said Lance Mathess, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

A family member from Florida called authorities shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday. They reported receiving a call from Dennis Klingbeil in which the man said “he had just shot his wife … and then taken numerous pills with the intention of killing himself,” Mathess wrote.

Responding deputies and medical personnel found both Klingbeils alive at their home, located about 1 mile west of the Wapiti school off the North Fork Highway (U.S. Highway 14/16/20).

Donna Klingbeil, suffering from a gunshot wound, was transported by air to Billings for medical treatment, but she later died, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Monday's release gave no indication about any possible motive for the homicide.

“... The investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time,” Mathess said.

An autopsy is scheduled for today (Tuesday), said Park County Coroner Tim Power.

Sunday’s homicide would mark the third time within the last year that an older Park County man has killed his wife or partner.

Last August, John C. Bright, 74, shot and killed his long-time partner, 64-year-old Mary Ann Bier, before killing himself at their home in rural Powell. The Sheriff’s Office said Bright had become despondent after learning Bier planned to leave him.

Less than three weeks later, also in August 2017, rural Powell resident David Williamson, 64, killed his 65-year-old wife Shirley Williamson, who had been suffering from physical and mental health problems.

David Williamson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter earlier this year. He received an 18- to 20-year prison sentence.

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