WHEN THE SPOUSE MURDERS THE SENIOR ALZHEIMER'S VICTIM
I’m mad as hell about the way our elderly population—our parents, relatives, our senior relatives and friends—are shoved aside, tormented, victimized and abused. I'm madder than hell that an apparently loving husband could murder his wife, an early-stage Alzheimer's victim, then commit suicide--and that anyone, ANYONE, would consider the crime an "act of love."
Hudson, Wisconsin (population 11,913) is a typical Midwestern river town. Snuggled alongside the St. Croix River, the boundary that separates Wisconsin and Minnesota, the historic downtown area spans approximately six blocks, running from the SSG gas station at Second and Coulee Road on the southern edge up to Art Doyle’s Spokes and Pedals, just north of Second and Locust.
Of course, the little town has its share of Dairy Queens, KFCs, and Best Westerns, but there's also a Dibbo's Cafe & Bar, an Idaho Chuck's Santa Fe Grill & Cantina, and the aforesaid Art Doyle's bike shop. Trendy boutique shops--Abigail Page Antiques, Back to Books, Elan, and many more--enhance Hudson's walkability and allure.
Like many other small towns in the Midwest, Hudson is almost entirely white--Caucasians make up 98 percent of the population; well educated--95 percent have at least a high school education; and safe—on a scale of one to 10, with one being the lowest, Hudson’s violent crime rate is two. Indeed, during the past eight years, the city has recorded only seven murders.
Hudson is where Claire and Betty Erickson went to high school, married, raised their four children, and prospered over the years. Claire was the founder of the Erickson Oil/Freedom convenience store chain. His 800 employees work in stations sprinkled around small towns from Wisconsin to South Dakota.
Perched on a bluff overlooking the sparkling St. Croix, 1003 Crest View Drive in Hudson is where Claire and Betty lived for 51 years and where they raised their four children. 1003 Crest View Drive also is where Claire spent nearly a thousand days and nights caring tenderly for Betty, gradually descending into the misty gloom of Alzheimer’s, and where, sometime during the night of March 24th, Claire shot Betty to death and turned the gun on himself.
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