CUMBERLAND – Police Tuesday identified the elderly couple involved in a murder-suicide in Cumberland on Easter Sunday as Roland R. and Maria R. Bouvier, both of whom had severe health problems in recent years, according to family members.
Roland Bouvier, 73, was suffering with pain from a recent back surgery, while his 70-year-old wife was suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's disease, family members told police.
According to police, the couple was in a bedroom in their Victorian Court condominium on Nate Whipple Highway shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday when Roland Bouvier shot his wife twice in the torso with a .32-caliber handgun. He then shot himself in the head.
The couple's 40-year-old daughter and three grandchildren were in the home and heard the shots. They called police after discovering the bodies.
Officers recovered the gun and a note Bouvier wrote indicating what he planned to do and why. The handwritten note said, in part, "No more pills, no more pain."
Police Chief John Desmarais said Tuesday that family members told investigators that the couple’s quality of life had declined due to severe health problems and that "they could not go on any further."
Married for 49 years, the couple had lived in the condominium complex for the past 14 years. They have two adult sons and a daughter and three grandchildren. The daughter and the grandchildren lived with the couple.
The couple lived most of their lives in Cumberland and previously resided in Bellingham.
Roland Bouvier was a line foreman for the former New England Power Systems, now National Grid, for 38 years. Maria Bouvier was a registered nurse, having started her nursing career in the former Woonsocket Hospital, now Landmark Medical Center, then working for the Wrentham State School and Rhode Island Hospital before retiring from the Globe Park School in Woonsocket.
(See obituary on page A5)
John Scott, president of the Victorian Court Condominium Association, said Roland Bouvier, who was known as “Butch” by residents of the complex, was a good neighbor who always found the time to help others.
“You couldn’t ask for better neighbors,” Scott said. “We’re going to miss them terribly. They weren’t just neighbors. They were friends.”
Neighbors say they are still in shock.
“We’ve lived here for 12 years and never has anything like that happened,” said one neighbor. “It’s always very quiet here and this is just hard to believe.”
This was the second murder-suicide in Cumberland in the past four years. In 2008, Norman Langelier, 61, shot his wife Beatrice, 60, in the head, just before he ignited cylinders containing flammable propane gas placed throughout their home at 500 Nate Whipple Highway. The mammoth explosion and fire quickly consumed the Langelier’s farmhouse.
A note left along with a propane tank inside a pickup truck found in the driveway of the home warned firefighters not to attempt to enter the home because of explosives, ammunition and gunpowder stored inside.
That killing was the town's first homicide in 15 years.