Family, neighbors remember Bradenton couple found dead

acastillo@bradenton.comMay 6, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Neighbors of a man and a woman who were found lifeless in their Bradenton home Sunday were left stunned and puzzled by their deaths.

The bodies of William Krochmal, 48, and Dana Weaver, 55, were found by their nephew Jerry Alsup at their home in the 4900 block of 20th Street Court East. Weaver's adult daughter, who has Down syndrome and lived with the couple, was trying to wake the pair up for days, Alsup said.

According to Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow, deputies arrived at the house at about 7 p.m. Bristow said that no foul play was suspected in the deaths. As of Monday afternoon, the autopsy results to determine how the couple died had not yet been released.

Ingrid Wolfe, Krochmal's mother talked about her son Monday afternoon while seated at her kitchen table. "I called him Billy. He was pretty amazing -- a really good person," Wolfe said.

The 69-year-old retiree said the deaths had not sunk in yet. "I think I'm in shock. I don't quite know."

According to Wolfe, Krochmal had become pretty ill in the last few years. He had both his hips replaced and had been losing his sight because of a pseudotumor on the back of his head and spine. Krochmal also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), his mother said, and he was being treated for breathing problems.

Wolfe said Weaver, who was with her son for about 25 years, was diabetic.

When Wolfe was unable to reach her son via phone, she asked a family friend to swing by his home to check on him. She later showed up at her son's home. By then deputies had roped off the house with yellow tape.

Nearby in the living room, Weaver's daughter Michelle Johnson sat on an armchair watching the Lifetime Movie Network. Wolfe brought her home Sunday night and said she's waiting for the 32-year-old to talk about what happened when she's ready.

"I don't know if she grasps the whole idea yet -- that they're gone," Wolfe said.

Back at the couple's duplex, a lit bulb hung beside the door. A cream-colored Buick was still parked in front of the house -- its windows open. In the car's backseat were a tattered Webster's dictionary and a grey sweater.

Chad Wampler, 37, and his wife, Cynthia Wampler, 38, said they were sitting outside smoking cigarettes when Jerry Alsup found the Bradenton couple next door.

"We didn't think they were home," Cynthia said. "We didn't hear anything for a couple days."

The Wamplers, who have lived at the other home in the duplex for a year and a half, described the couple as quiet. The last time Chad Wampler saw Weaver and her daughter Michelle was last Thursday.

"My heart goes out to the family because it's tragic," said Cynthia, adding that they were nice people who never bothered anyone.

Weaver's daughter told the couple she didn't know why her parents wouldn't talk to her. They said she thought they were mad at her.

"She said, 'I felt they were cold so I put blankets on them,'" Cynthia said.

Nichole Gettinger, 24, last saw Weaver on Thursday afternoon. She said that on Wednesday, she noticed Weaver in her car taking her clothes off and "acting strange." Gettinger said she asked Weaver if she was OK; Weaver said she was fine. Gettinger said she then called the sheriff's office and an ambulance.

"I guess she refused treatment and she refused to let anybody in her home," Gettinger said.

As for Wolfe, the Bradenton resident said she last saw her son on April 28 when he visited her house. They talked about family things.

"I had no clue that would be the last time I was going to see him," she said.

Her eyes welled up.

"Kids aren't supposed go before you," she said, her voice breaking. "I guess God had a better plan for him."

Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 718-902-6651. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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