Murder/suicide within Ohio’s Stockdale Family [updated]

The Stockdale Family: Calvin, Jacob, James, and Tim

The Stockdale Family, who have played bluegrass together in Canton, OH for many years, made the news today for a horrendous murder/suicide that occurred on their family farm in Stark County yesterday. Sheriff’s reports indicate that Jacob Stockdale shot and killed his mother, Kathryn Stockdale, and his younger brother, James Stockdale, with a shotgun before then turning the gun on himself. Jacob was seriously injured and is being treated at Cleveland Metro Hospital.

People in the area are shocked by the news, as the Stockdales were seen as the epitome of wholesomeness, partly stemming from their participation in the television program Wife Swap in 2008. The theme of that show was that moms from two very different families would swap roles, leading to all sorts of on-screen conflict. The Stockdale family came across as a squeaky clean, homeschooling, Christian family with very traditional beliefs, with no tension among family members or affinity for violence.

Jacob, 25, played fiddle with the family band, which was managed by his mom, and James, 21, played bass. At this point the Sheriff’s office has no knowledge of what transpired among the family members yesterday afternoon, or what may have led to the shooting.

Eldest brother Calvin Stockdale issued a statement on this tragedy for the family.

“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. We thank Sheriff Maier and his staff for their help through this difficult day as well as the staff at Aultman and MetroHealth Medical Center.

While support is appreciated we ask for privacy while our family deals with this tragic loss.”

The Canton Rep newspaper is following this story as well.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. – We received this additional statement from the family just now…

Late Friday morning Timothy Stockdale, father and husband of the family, issued the following statement regarding his late wife, Kathy Stockdale:

“Kathy has been my beloved wife of 32 years and a wonderful mother to our four sons. She loved nothing more than being a mother and grandmother. She had a strong love of learning and was passionate about her Christian faith, natural health, and organic farming.”

Late Friday morning Calvin Stockdale, the eldest brother of the family, issued the following statement regarding his late brother, James Stockdale:

“James, our youngest brother, has always been a catalyst of family fun. Aside from being a gifted musician, James enjoyed dancing and had a innate love of people. James was working on a business degree and hope to go into the business side of entertainment. He leaves behind many friends and a family that love him dearly.

My brother, Jacob, is still in critical condition and we are praying for his physical recovery as our family makes funeral plans and begins the healing process.”

Jacob Stockdale’s condition has stabilized but is listed as critical at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Mitchell Reynolds

    What could be more squeaky clean, Christian and home-schooled than appearing on a reality TV show, them murdering half your family and trying to off yourself? Twisted stage family.

    • Hannah Johnson

      I agree that there is something drastically wrong here, sir, but I would be careful before making a judgement like that before we know the particulars…I personally know a good homeschooling family whose daughter inherited a genetic mental illness that caused her grandfather to murder her grandmother in much the same way. Since the family knows this, they are having hear treated for it the best they can. It could be a case of horrible hypocrisy, I know….it’s just that I would avoid making a scathing judgment until we know more about it.