ELKHART, Ind. – Two people were found dead Monday morning at the office of an eye doctor who was under indictment for performing unnecessary surgeries on patients who included children.
Police investigating a report of a suicide attempt at the Gabriele Eye Institute heard a gunshot when they arrived Monday morning, then found two bodies inside.
Lt. Ed Windbigler said the victims were a man and a woman but would not identify them until relatives were notified. No one else was in the office, which was not scheduled to be open Monday.
The eye institute is run by Dr. Philip Gabriele, 44, an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon with offices in Elkhart, South Bend and Mishawaka. Gabriele and his wife, Marcella, both of Granger, were indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges of health care fraud, wire fraud and criminal conspiracy. They were scheduled to turn themselves in on Monday.
The indictment accused Philip Gabriele of falsely diagnosing cataracts and other disorders and performing unnecessary surgeries, including some on children. It said the couple altered patient charts and records to make it seem as if diagnoses were accurate and submitted fraudulent billing claims to Medicare, Indiana Medicaid and private health care insurers.
The couple issued a news release Friday saying they were "deeply saddened and dismayed" by the indictment, which their attorney, J.P. Hanlon, said was without merit.
A message was left Monday seeking comment from Hanlon.
"We will continue to focus our energies on doing what we love — working tirelessly to provide top-quality medical care for the people of Michiana," the couple's statement said.
A friend of the couple told South Bend media Monday that she received a cell phone message from Philip Gabriele saying the couple "couldn't take the pain." Susan Manuszak said the message said the couple could be found in Elkhart.