Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco couple die in apparent murder-suicide

NEW PORT RICHEY — A couple in the midst of a divorce was found dead Sunday night in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities say.

The bodies of Stephen Michael Searce, 58, and his wife, Penny, 48, were discovered inside their home at 9502 Paver Court after a family member reported being unable to reach Mrs. Searce.

No one else was home at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

When deputies arrived at the home in the gated Tanglewood community of New Port Richey about 7:10 p.m., both bodies were found with gunshot wounds. Stephen Searce shot and killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.

No family members could be reached Monday.

Court records show both Stephen Searce and Penny Searce had been married before and had children from their previous marriages.

In 2008, he filed for a domestic violence injunction against his then-wife, Victoria. He complained that she had hit him and bitten him, and frequently drove drunk with their children in the car, according to court records.

Victoria was ordered to take parenting classes and allowed only supervised visits with their kids — a daughter born in 1998, and a son, who has autism, born in 2000.

By mid 2009, the couple — by then divorced — were getting along and Stephen Searce agreed to have the injunction lifted. But at the end of 2010, he had fallen behind in child support payments, records say.

He married Penny Gardner in November 2009 in Clearwater. Records indicate she was the owner of a Dunedin company called Penny's Helping Hands.

In records from their pending divorce, Penny Searce listed Dunedin as her address. Stephen, it seems, was living alone in the home where they died.

Pasco couple die in apparent murder-suicide 08/08/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 8, 2011 10:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville's star 'fascist'


    The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend's violent Charlottesville, Virginia, rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

    White nationalist Chris Cantwell has had quite the week after being featured prominently in an HBO news program on the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. [Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post]
  2. MLB umpires wear wristbands to protest 'abusive player behavior'


    Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.

    Home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn wears a wristband to protest "abusive player behavior" on umpires by players as Rayburn heads to his position to call the first inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and and the Colorado Rockies late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Denver. [Associated Press]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida


    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  4. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue


    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.