- 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner
- 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female
- Learn more: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Air Force Major Melissa Birtzer, 42, went missing from the Fort Walton Beach area in Florida on November 17, 2012. A few days later on Nov 20th, Major Birtzer was found dead at the Eglin Air Force Base range. The USAF reported that the case was under investigation and then updated the public with the announcement that there was no foul play suspected. The official cause of death is unknown but was not ruled a homicide. Co-workers shared she may have been ‘depressed’ prior to her disappearance. Major Birtzer served honorably for 18 years first as an enlisted Intelligence Specialist and then as a Nurse. She also completed two tours in Afghanistan. Melissa is survived by a spouse and two children.
Christopher MacCallum was discovered dead at the bottom of a cliff in Oregon on November 20, 2012. Christopher was reported missing by his wife Patricia and her step-sister after disappearing while they were camping at the Applegate River campsite. Investigators could find no one who had motive to harm Christopher so they started digging into his relationship with Patricia. Christopher and Patricia met in 2008. Patricia joined the Army in January 2011 and five months later in December 2011, she was medically discharged. She moved back to Oregon with the children and left Christopher behind; he was waiting until the lease on their San Antonio, Texas apartment was up. It turns out they separated and reconciled a couple times throughout the course of their relationship. Christopher moved back in with Patricia again in September 2012 and she immediately began plotting his murder with her step-sister. Christopher was dead the next month. From all accounts, Christopher was a good man who loved his children and simply wanted to be with them.
Eventually Patricia MacCallum admitted to shooting Christopher multiple times while he lay asleep in his tent. Patricia’s step-sister Amber Lubbers admitted to assisting with the cover-up of the crime. Together they dumped his body off a cliff and told police that he had gone missing. Prosecutors revealed that the motive for the crime was the custody of the children, social security benefits, and life insurance. Patricia admitted to intentionally getting her husband drunk so that once he passed out, she could kill him when he was most defenseless. Christopher’s father Mike MacCallum shared that he believes that Christopher wanted to save the marriage to prevent the kids from going through a divorce and this desire turned out to be a fatal error. Patricia MacCallum was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Amber Lubbers was charged as an accessory after the fact, found guilty, and sentenced to 16 months in prison. She served about half her sentence and was released early because of good behavior.
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Sheriffs show up to a campsite where Patricia MacCallum’s husband went missing. -Oxygen Media