New details have emerged on the Wife Swap murders, where one of the show’s former stars allegedly murdered his younger brother and mother before turning the gun on himself.
As Hollywood Life reported, the incident took place on June 16, as 25-year-old Jacob Stockdale supposedly shot and killed younger brother James Stockdale, 21, and mother Kathryn Stockdale, 54. Police reports suggest that Jacob shot himself afterwards, but survived the suicide attempt and was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.
The Stockdales were featured on Wife Swap in 2008, nine years before the murders occurred. Hollywood Life described the family as a “devoutly religious” one, where the children were strictly forbidden from cussing, and even normal, typically harmless teenage activities such as dating, listening to pop music, watching television, and playing video games.
Together with their father Timothy and their two older brothers, Jacob and James were part of a bluegrass band in their native Ohio, with Jacob described on the family website (which was taken down following the murders) as a fiddle prodigy who “received the basics of violin playing” at the tender age of 7-years-old.
In the 2008 episode that featured the Stockdale family, Kathryn Stockdale was swapped with an Illinois woman named Laurie Tonkovic, who spoke to TMZ about the Wife Swap murders, and what could have pushed Jacob Stockdale to allegedly commit the horrific crime.
'Wife Swap' Son Accused of Killing Mom and Brother Snapped from Strict Home Life, Claims 'Other Mom' https://t.co/PZ59n0TQxl
— TMZ (@TMZ) June 19, 2017
During the time Tonkovic was serving as a “second mother” to the Stockdale boys, she had tried to allow the youngsters to enjoy a more typical upbringing where they could “experience (teenage) life a little bit.” But as Tonkovic recalled to TMZ, this didn’t sit too well with Jacob, who “freaked out” upon being given so much freedom, something he apparently wasn’t used to at that point in his life.
“When I switched the rules and I was going to let them have fun, have the television and video games and experience life a little bit, he ran outside crying. And when I went out after him, I asked him what was wrong, and he said that his mom and dad tell him that basically he would ‘burn in hell.'”
— The Dating Bible (@TheDatingBible) June 17, 2017
Tonkovic also explained that the boys, Jacob included, lived in a “very controlled environment” where their religious parents would tell them what to do and were prevented from mingling with their peers through a regimen of homeschooling and work. She also offered a chilling theory on why the Wife Swap murders may have occurred — Jacob Stockdale may have “snapped,” as TMZ had put it, after years of being brought up in such a controlled environment.
“God says that he gives you free will, (which was something) they didn’t have. They weren’t allowed to make choices. I just think that it caught up to him.”
Meanwhile, the Stockdale family continues to deal with the fallout of the Wife Swap murders, as alleged shooter Jacob remains hospitalized in critical condition. Further underscoring the shock felt by the community in the aftermath of the double murder is the fact that the Stockdales’ family bluegrass band performed as recently as Tuesday, June 13, just three days before the incident and had other dates lined up for the summer, according to the Hollywood Gossip.
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