On June 15, 2017, Stark County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a 911 hangup call from a residence. When police arrived on the scene they found the front door had been left ajar and inside a body had been lying on the floor. As police continued to search the home they heard a gunshot. Two were dead and another man had been found to be in critical condition in what investigators are now saying was part of a double murder and attempted suicide.
It was later learned that two of the men involved in the murder-suicide had been members of a local Christian bluegrass group called the Stockdale Famly Band. Jacob Stockdale, 25, had allegedly attempted suicide after shooting his mother, 54-year-old Kathryn Stockdale, as well as his brother, 21-year-old James Stockdale. Jacob Stockdale was rushed to Metro Health Medical Center where he remains in critical condition. Investigators still do not have a clear motive.
The Stockdale Family Band had a brush with national notoriety when they agreed to appear on the reality television series Wife Swap in 2008. In the series, the Stockdale family portrayed themselves as deeply religious people who moved their family to the country to escape the violence of the city. There, Tim and Kathryn Stockdale said they chose to raise their boys in a “morally responsible” environment. TV and video games were strictly banned. Instead, the family liked to spend time reading stories and playing music when they weren’t working hard on the family farm.
In spite of the national exposure, the band was mostly known for playing local events in and around the Cleveland, Ohio area. In 2014 the band had won first place in an annual local talent competition known as Heights Got Talent and according to the band’s website:
“The family band has performed as the house band for the Amish Country Theater, community concerts, festivals, and churches. They have earned first place in 4 regional band contests and 2nd in both the national “Single Mic Championship” and “Youth in Bluegrass” band contest in Branson, MO. Jacob is an Ohio State Grand Fiddle Champion. With an entertaining and down-home style stage show, the Stockdales provide an event that the Whole Family is sure to enjoy.”
Since the incident Calvin Stockdale, also of the Stockdale Family Band, has issued the following statement:
“My family appreciates the prayers and support we are receiving from our friends and the community. We are mourning the loss of my brother and mother and are waiting to learn more about what transpired yesterday afternoon. While support is appreciated, we ask for privacy as the family deals with this tragic loss.”
The Stark County Sheriff’s Department has urged anyone who could offer any information on the case to contact 330-430-3800.