A cancer-stricken Minnesota couple was found dead in their home with their two dogs earlier this week — after they hatched a murder-suicide plan so they could leave the world “in love and together.”
The bodies of Steven Alton Stearns, 45, Stacy Lynn Stearns, 49, and their two dogs were discovered inside the Detroit Lakes home on Tuesday after the couple had called 911, authorities said.
Stacy’s death has since been ruled a homicide and Steven’s a suicide, according to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office.
The couple, who had celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary just a week before their deaths, had been struggling to cope with their cancer battles, In Forum reported.
Steven had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer that was too advanced to treat, while his wife had already been suffering from stomach cancer.
Just moments before the couple alerted 911 of their planned demise, they posted a heartbreaking final message on their joint Facebook page.
“To our loved ones. We chose to leave this world as we lived in it. In love and together. Our only regret is the sorrow to our loved ones. Remember the laughter and happiness We love you. Goodbye,” the post read.
Their friend Tammy Lawrence told the outlet that Steven had recently told her they were secretly planning to end their lives.
“They’ve always had a pact that ‘We will go together,’” Lawrence said. “He made me promise not to say anything to anybody.”
She added: “Stacy did not want him to tell me, but he said, ‘I can’t look in your eyes and lie to you anymore, and somebody has to be able to tell people why we are going to do what we were going to do.’”
The couple had no children and treated their two dogs as their kids, friends said.
“He’s not a murderer; this was done out of love. It’s what they both wanted. They wanted to go together with their dogs,” Lawrence said.