CLARKESVILLE, Ga. (ABP) — Nancy Schaefer, a conservative Christian activist and former two-term state senator in Georgia, was found dead with her husband March 26 in their north Georgia home in what is being described as a murder-suicide.
Investigators told the Associated Press they believe Bruce Schaefer, 74, shot his wife once in the back while she slept in the bedroom early Friday morning and then shot himself in the head. Police found a handgun near his body and several letters written to family members, including a suicide note.
Contrary to early reports that Bruce Schaefer had cancer, the Gainesville Times reported March 27 that the couple's daughter, who discovered the bodies, told the local sheriff her father was not suffering from any serious illness at the time of the shootings. Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said some of the letters mentioned serious financial problems and speculated that might have been a motive.
Nancy Schaefer, 73, was for 23 years president of Family Concerns, a non-profit organization she started in 1985. She was elected the Georgia State Senate in 2004 after federally redrawn legislative districts created an open seat in the 50th District, defeating two Republican challengers and a Democrat to win the seat. Before that she ran for mayor of Atlanta in 1993, was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and finished third in the GOP race for governor in 1998.
For eight years she was a trustee of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. She was a former first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
Funeral services are scheduled March 31 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Toccoa, Ga. The family requests no flowers but suggests memorial gifts be given in the Schaefers memory to the Athens Y Camp in Tallulah Falls, Ga.
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.