AuSable Forks couple dead of apparent murder-suicide

AUSABLE FORKS - Authorities are continuing their investigation into an apparent murder-suicide that has taken the lives of a well-known AuSable Forks couple.

According to New York State Police Lt. Brent Davison, a state police dispatcher in Plattsburgh received a call at 9:52 a.m. Dec. 29, by a male subject identifying himself as Otis Collins of 3 French Village Road. Davison said the man told the dispatcher he had just shot his wife and had planned to turn the gun on himself.

"[The dispatcher] tried to talk him out of it and he eventually just hung up," said Davison, adding the man said he will have killed himself "within 10 seconds of getting off the phone."

The first officers arrived on-scene at approximately 10:05 a.m., though the man had apparently already taken his own life.

"The male subject was sitting outside, deceased, with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a firearm in between his legs," said Davison. "When [officers] went in the house, they found his wife in her bed with the same type of injury, but it didn't appear self-inflicted. It looked like someone had done it to her."

The couple - whom Davison said he could not officially confirm was the Collinses until results of their autopsies were released - had reportedly been going through financial troubles, according to a three-page note left behind by the man believed to be Otis Collins. In the letter, it stated Fredricka Collins had been having health issues following a 2004 automobile accident and that the two decided a pact to end their own lives was the only way out of their situation.

"It was depleting all their money," said Davison. "The man was a retired correction officer and apparently didn't have a lot of money left over ... I guess they thought this was the best way, according to him. We obviously weren't ever able to talk to her about it."

Davison said to his knowledge there was no record of any criminal complaints from that address or from the Collinses.

"They were well-known and well-liked," he said. "He had breakfast with some local people almost every morning, which included, I believe, [Monday] morning."

The official results of the autopsy were due to be released Tuesday afternoon, though Davison stated, "for all intensive purposes, it is that couple, the Collins couple."

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