Elderly woman dies in Fairview Twp. house fire

Police search for clues in York's latest murder-suicide



That's the number of murder-suicides York County has seen so far in 2015, and it's leaving officials searching for answers.

The latest incident occurred Wednesday when police found 61-year-old Donna Wilk and 50-year-old husband Brian Wilk dead. The husband shot his wife before shooting himself in the head in murder-suicide, according to the York County Coroner's office.

Springettsbury Township Police were called to a small house in the 900 block of South Russell Street at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with a request to check on the wellbeing of the residents, said Lt. Dan Stump.

Stump said Donna Wilk's boss at a Subway in Gabriel Brothers Plaza, less than a mile from her home in the township, called police after becoming concerned when she didn't show up for work.

Subway co-owner Chuck Lambert said Donna Wilk preferred to be called by her maiden name, Donna Rae. She was a cherished employee of the store for five years and loved putting in a hard day's work, he said.

"She will be greatly missed as a member of our family," he said.

No history: While neighbors said the couple fought frequently, Stump said there were no domestic disturbance calls on record at the residence.

Brian Wilk filed reports from time to time for neighborhood disturbances, including minor offenses such as vandalism and traffic concerns, Stump said.

"It was nothing of a serious nature," the chief said.

This is the second domestic-related murder-suicide in Springettsbury Township this year, and it's something the police are taking seriously, he said.

Time of death: York County Coroner Pam Gay said the shootings might've occurred between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

"We are continuing to investigate and understand what happened," he said.

Last night: Neighbors Steph Barshinger and Justin Samelko said they did not know couple well, despite the fact that they'd all lived there for a decade or more. And none had glowing things to say about the man police say committed the murder-suicide.

Barshinger said he once threatened to kill her dog, a Labrador, when the pooch got loose and ended up on the man's lawn. She said the dead couple had argued fairly frequently, though to her knowledge it'd never gotten physical. But that doesn't mean this necessarily took her by surprise.

"I want to say I'm shocked, but I'm not," Barshinger said. "I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner."

Gay said this latest murder-suicide demonstrates how well domestic violence can be hidden from neighbors.

This year is expected to be the worst in the last 20 years when it comes to the number of murder-suicides in York County.

"I think it's obvious there's a domestic violence issue," she said. "It's not that it's increasing, but it's become more lethal in the last few years."

Gay added that when it comes to domestic issues, she finds that people are very good at hiding it.

"We can learn from this," she said. "People in our own neighborhoods are struggling with this issue, but many times we aren't aware of what's going on. We aren't as connected to each other as we were in the past."

Gay said after the Wilks' death, it 'took time' to inform family members.

— Reach Sara Blumberg at sblumberg@yorkdispatch.com.