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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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Son of BOV member commits murder-suicide, abducts wife

Son of BOV member commits murder-suicide, abducts wife

By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH

Spotsylvania resident and son of a University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors member Todd Houck fatally shot a man at a motel in Bowling Green County Tuesday morning. The man who was killed, Jeremy Gift, 36, was reported to be the boyfriend of Houck’s wife, according to officials.

Following the shooting at the Relax Inn in Bowling Green County, Houck abducted his wife, Cheri Houck and drove north on Interstate 95, where they were pursued by Caroline County and Virginia State Police.

Approximately 30 miles later, authorities at the Virginia State Police said Houck struck a state police cruiser and members of the police force heard a gunshot go off from inside his vehicle. Authorities found Houck dead from what is believed to be a self-inflicted wound, his wife was present in the car when he died, but was left unscathed.

Houck, 36, had a history of mental illness, according to his father and BOV member Edd Houck, following a case in 1999 with Richmond police. Houck also received numerous misdemeanors and felony convictions for drug possession and grand larceny.

Edd Houck, started his four-year term as BOV member in 2014, according to the UMW’s website and was active in the BOV and in issues relating to the UMW community, voicing support of a divestment committee in April 16 and 17 of this year.

He also served until 2013 as the director of community and corporate programs for Mary Washington Healthcare and the director of student services for Fredericksburg City Public Schools.

Rector Holly Cuellar of the Board of Visitors gave her statement on behalf of the Board of Visitors, honoring Houck’s family and offering prayer for his and his family’s pain.

“Please join me and the Board of Visitors in praying for understanding and peace for the Houck family during this most difficult time,” Cuellar said.

Similarly, Anna Billingsley, assistant vice president for University Relations, said it is too early to determine Houck’s plans going forward, but said that he is a member of good standing with UMW BOV and also offers condolences to Houck and his family on behalf of the UMW community.

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