Husband kills wife of 71 years in murder-suicide 'after benefit cuts left them unable to cover her health bills'

  • Harold Masten, 88, is believed to have fatally shot his wife Helen, 89, before turning the gun on himself
  • The couple, of Kenton, Delaware, were found on October 19, in the bedroom of their house
  • The Mastens had spoken to a reporter in August about the elimination of a program that helped cover medication costs for low-income Delaware seniors
  • Harold and Helen explained that they wouldn't be able to pay for a new heater for their home?

An 88-year-old man is believed to have fatally shot his wife of 71 years before turning the gun on himself.

Harold and Helen Masten, of Kenton, Delaware, were?found by a relative who had gone to check on them and deliver breakfast on October 19, reported The News Journal.

Their bodies were located in the bedroom inside the locked house in the first block of Cooper Street.

While a motivation hasn't been determined, the couple had spoken to a reporter in August about how the elimination of a program that helped cover medication costs for low-income Delaware seniors had left them unable to cover Helen's health bills.

Harold Masten, 88 (left), is believed to have fatally shot his wife of 71 years, Helen, 89 (right), before turning the gun on himself. The couple, of Kenton, Delaware, was found on October 19,?in the bedroom of their house?

Harold Masten, 88 (left), is believed to have fatally shot his wife of 71 years, Helen, 89 (right), before turning the gun on himself. The couple, of Kenton, Delaware, was found on October 19,?in the bedroom of their house?

A daughter of the Mastens said she was not aware of what the circumstances were behind the incident.

'We don't know,' said Louise Amick, one of the Masten's five children.?

'We're hoping to get some sort of closure from the medical examiner's report that there was something going on medically that we didn't know about.'?

Amick said the family continues grieving over the incident and did not want to say more.

According to the couple's obituary, Harold was an auto mechanic who ran his own business, Masten's Garage, and enjoyed riding on his lawnmower in the 4th of July parade as the Kenton Police car.

Helen, 89, was a homemaker and the bookkeeper of Harold's business, who played bingo with her husband.

In August, the couple spoke to?The News Journal regarding the elimination of a $1.6million entitlement program that helped cover prescription and over-the-counter drug costs for low-income Delaware seniors.

In August, the couple spoke to The News Journal regarding the elimination of a $1.6million entitlement program that helped cover prescription and over-the-counter drug costs for low-income Delaware seniors.?The Mastens told the newspaper that they had hoped to buy a new heater for their house, but they wouldn't be able to afford it (Pictured, Harold)

In August, the couple spoke to The News Journal regarding the elimination of a $1.6million entitlement program that helped cover prescription and over-the-counter drug costs for low-income Delaware seniors.?The Mastens told the newspaper that they had hoped to buy a new heater for their house, but they wouldn't be able to afford it (Pictured, Harold)

Helen (pictured) explained that her three prescription eye drops to treat glaucoma only cost her $25 in total on the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program. But after August she would be charged about $150 to cover the prescription and the Part D premium, about 25 percent of what she received each month through Social Security, which was $560.

Helen (pictured) explained that her three prescription eye drops to treat glaucoma only cost her $25 in total on the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program. But after August she would be charged about $150 to cover the prescription and the Part D premium, about 25 percent of what she received each month through Social Security, which was $560.

The Mastens told the newspaper that they had hoped to?buy a new heater for their house, but they wouldn't be able to afford it.

Helen explained that her three prescription eye drops to treat glaucoma only cost her $25 in total on the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program.

But after August she would be charged about $150 to cover the prescription and the Part D premium, about 25 percent of what she received each month through Social Security, which was $560.???

Harold said then that he was disappointed with the state General Assembly for making a decision that would change so much of their daily lives.

State health officials claimed the number of residents using the program has tapered off in recent years and that by 2020 the program would no longer be needed.

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