How to support victims of domestic abuse
Ronald and Susan Strouse were married in their early 20s.
They grew together, eventually settling into a one-story Lake Wales, Florida home on a tidy lot, as seen in a Spectrum Bay News 9 report.
But 50 years later, that home was the scene of “a particularly brutal murder” according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Deputies say Ronald Charles Strouse, 73, strangled his 72-year-old wife to death on the floor of their home after lunch on Tuesday.
According to a news release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Strouse said his wife told him on Monday night that “she wanted to leave him, take all their money, and move out of their residence.”
Strouse told detectives they argued when she wouldn’t tell him why she wanted out of the marriage.
On Tuesday, Susan Strouse made the pair sausage sandwiches for lunch around noon. He wasn’t hungry and didn’t eat, detectives said Ronald Strouse told them. Had he done so, it would have been their last meal together after 50 years of marriage.
After lunch, Strouse told deputies his wife was lying on the couch and watching TV when he asked her again, repeatedly, why she wanted to leave him. He grew frustrated, he told deputies, when he couldn’t get an answer.
Deputies say Strouse then grabbed Susan and pulled her down to the floor, where they began to wrestle. Strouse, deputies said, got on top of his wife and straddled her mid-section. She was on her back. He put his hands around her neck and began to choke her, the report said.
“He knew his action of grabbing the victim by the neck and choking her could have resulted in her death,” the report said.
Susan Strouse fought back by grabbing at her husband’s hands and arms and digging her fingernails into him, deputies said. Once she stopped struggling and became motionless, Strouse stopped choking her, waited a few minutes and called 911.
Strouse told the 911 dispatcher, “She’s no longer with us.” When the 911 dispatcher asked what he meant, he responded, “She’s dead,” a Polk County spokesman told Fox 13 News.
Deputies found her on the floor of the house, with severe bruising on her arms, wrists, neck, jaw, forehead and above her left eye. “These bruises are consistent with the victim having been battered,” the sheriff’s report read.
Strouse was booked into Polk County Jail and charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail. Deputies did not say whether the couple had children or grandchildren.
“This was a particularly brutal murder. We aren’t sure why Ronald Strouse murdered his wife of 50 years, but one thing we are sure of is that he will be held accountable for his actions,” Judd, the Polk County sheriff, said in the news release.