ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. – A body found Wednesday on a houseboat is likely that of a man wanted for forcing his way into a domestic violence shelter and fatally shooting his wife, authorities said.
John "Woody" Woodring had been hiding from police since the Sept. 18 murder of Bonnie Woodring in Sylva, about 50 miles southwest of Asheville.
The sheriff's office declined to confirm the identity of the body found Wednesday on a houseboat in far western North Carolina until autopsy results are available. But District Attorney Michael Bonfoey told the Asheville Citizen-Times that Woodring's body had been found.
The victim's family said that law enforcement officials told them Woodring shot himself in the head with a stolen handgun, the newspaper reported.
"You always wonder if he's going to show up, but this is the best news," said Bonnie Woodring's daughter, Christina Stojanik.
Woodring, 35, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife at the shelter where she and her son were staying to escape him. Woodring was already wanted on domestic violence charges after being accused of violating a protective order and trying to strangle his wife at her home Sept. 14.
Woodring fled in a stolen car after the shooting, police had said.
The killing put domestic violence shelters across the state on high alert. The shelter in Sylva had panic buttons, a fence, an alarm system and locks on every window and door, but Woodring forced his way in as a staff worker was leaving, investigators said.
Before the killing, Woodring was a teaching assistant at Western Carolina University, where he was seeking a degree in counseling.