Shoreview man kills his mom and then himself
- Article by: Pat Pheifer and Anthony Lonetree
- Star Tribune
- November 27, 2007 - 8:55 PM
A man who had struggled with mental illness fatally stabbed his mother and then took his own life Monday at their Shoreview home, authorities said.
The bodies of Susan M. Wolter, 53, and her son, Paul W. Wolter, 22, were found about 8:50 p.m. Monday in their condominium at the Shoreview Estates in the 4000 block of Hodgson Road, according to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. Both died of multiple stab wounds.
While the son's mental-health issues were known to some residents, no one interviewed Tuesday thought he was capable of such violence.
On Monday night, Undersheriff George Altendorfer said, family members had called police and asked them to check on Susan Wolter after they couldn't reach her on the phone.
He said the family was concerned about Paul Wolter's mental health issues and had sought help for him in the past. He would not elaborate: "I think it's accurate to say they've had successes and setbacks in this area," he said.
Paul Wolter lived with his parents, Susan and Wayne Wolter, in a second-floor condominium. Wayne Wolter was on a golfing vacation to Las Vegas, said John Schmid, the former board president for the condo complex.
Elaine Malat, who lives directly downstairs of the Wolters, said she heard water running in the Wolters' unit about 3 p.m. Monday. It still was running after 8 p.m., and she notified people in the building about it, she said. Later, she learned what had happened.
"It's very shocking and sad. So sad," she said. "They're such nice people."
Jean Lambert, another condo resident, called Susan Wolter "a lovely lady."
Susan Wolter had been an administrative assistant for the Roseville Fire Department for the past 12 years -- doing everything from payroll to schedule changes -- and was known and loved by everyone, Fire Chief Richard Gasaway said Tuesday night.
"She was really a wonderful, fun-loving person," he said. "There was not a day that went by that we were not in stitches, laughing about something we had read in the news, something in sports, something from a movie."
One of her favorite things in the world was to spend time at her lake cabin, Gasaway said. "She'd often talk about going there and motoring around the lake on their pontoon and just watching the sunsets and really relaxing, getting away from the Cities -- as she would describe it."
Gasaway said he had met Paul Wolter only a few times. Susan Wolter "kept her family life private and away from work," he said.
"When she was at work she focused on work. On occasion you would sense that she was taxed with life's challenges but she wouldn't really speak a whole lot about it. Obviously to our surprise there were things that were more complex than we knew them to be."
She was "very valuable in our operation, and a very dear friend, too," he said.
Altendorfer said the Wolter family is in the thoughts of investigators, as well.
"It's a tragic event," he said, "Our hearts and our minds are with them."
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