Elderly couple's murder-suicide baffles neighbours



LONDON, Ont. -- She was a kind-hearted woman who loved her cactus plants and grew up in the same tiny German town as the Pope.

He was a Second World War veteran with a passion for world history and storytelling.

To the few who knew them, Ed and Magda Amler, both in their 80s, were just a sweet elderly couple living a quiet life in south London.

But their lives came to a tragic end Friday afternoon when they were both found with gunshot wounds inside their home. Police are treating the deaths as a murder-suicide.

On the weekend, neighbours were trying to piece together how such a seemingly ordinary couple could've died in such a horrendous way.

Darien Stover has lived across the street from the Amlers for the past year.

Stover was taking a nap Friday when sirens startled her awake. Dashing to her porch to see what was happening, she came out just as paramedics were carrying Ed Amler's body out of the house.

"It was traumatizing," she said.

Stover had only brief interactions with the Amlers, but said there had been multiple ambulance calls to the house in recent weeks, many in the middle of the night.

She heard from neighbours that Magda had recently begun to suffer from severe memory loss and had difficulties moving around due to arthritis.

"I think it was an 'I can't live with you, I can't live without you' kind of thing, like Romeo and Juliet," Stover said.

The Amlers were a proud German couple who had lived on Burlington St.  since 1986, according to Abe Hajjar, a close friend and neighbour.
Magda, whose birth name is Magdalena Ratzinger, was born in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany, the same German town as Pope Benedict XVI. She told Hajjar she was a distant cousin of the current pontiff, and that her parents and the Pope's parents were close friends.

Ed was a former German soldier who liked to talk about his adventures, Hajjar said.

The couple didn't have children or relatives in Canada, but kept a handful of close friends.

"Not once did I hear a negative word or comment from him against her or vice versa. All I could see was love in that house.”

He's trying to organize a funeral for the couple, fearing their deaths will go unnoticed because of the few connections they had.

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