Cooper Health System CEO and President John Sheridan killed his wife, Joyce, and then himself, the Somerset County Prosecutor said Friday in announcing the results of an investigation into the two September 2014 deaths.The final report of the Northern Regional Medical Examiner Office concluded that John Sheridan died of “sharp force injuries and smoke inhalation,” calling the manner of death a suicide.
“Those determinations are consistent with the evidence developed during the investigation which supports the conclusion that John Sheridan killed Joyce Sheridan and, thereafter, committed suicide,” the statement from Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Montgomery Township Police Capt./Director Robert E. Palmer said.
Early on the morning of Sept. 28, 2014, first responders were sent to the Sheridans’ residence in the Skillman section of Montgomery Township after 911 calls about a house fire. In the course of extinguishing the fire, which was localized in the Sheridans’ bedroom, and dealing with its aftermath, emergency personnel discovered the couple’s bodies in the room.
RELATED: Cooper CEO/President John Sheridan dies in house fire
The investigation of the fire and deaths revealed that both bodies had knife wounds, and John Sheridan had also suffered injuries from an armoire falling on him. The investigation also found that gasoline was used to start the fire, and Joyce Sheridan was already dead when the fire was started.
The statement from the prosecutor’s office said interviews about John Sheridan’s demeanor prior to the deaths indicated that he was “very upset,” among other statements, and apparently preoccupied with work-related issues.
“The evidence in this case supports the conclusion that John Sheridan fatally stabbed Joyce Sheridan, set the fire and committed suicide,” the statement said.
A report by NJ Advance Media said the Sheridans’ four sons are contesting the report’s finding, and would be filing a lawsuit challenging the results.
“We do not have answers to what happened to our parents,” NJ Advance Media quoted them as saying. “Based on the evidence, neither do the investigators.”
Cooper University Health Care issued a statement, saying:
“Our hearts are with the Sheridan family at this difficult time. Although the findings about his death and the death of Joyce are unfathomable to us, we will continue to remember John as a compassionate leader of Cooper who was committed to making positive change in Camden.”
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