Glynn County Police investigators will return today to St. Simons Island Clinic, hoping to clarify some final details of the March 6 murder-suicide that left a doctor and his estranged girlfriend dead from gunshots, Chief Matt Doering said Wednesday.
Police found Catherine Tortorete, 51, and Dr. William Nelson, 63, dead March 6 at his clinic in Redfern Village on the island shortly after 5:45 p.m., when someone called 911 after encountering a body at the clinic. Police have not said publicly which of the two committed the murder and suicide. Police did say that two guns were found at the scene.
Police know which of the two pulled the trigger, Doering said, but investigators are waiting until final details are confirmed before making that information public.
“We’re confident that we know, but we’re waiting to verify the information that we have to ensure that we’re correct,” Doering said. “We’re still confident it was a murder-suicide. We’re just trying to make sure our final conclusion is based on the evidence and not conjecture.”
Immediate family members of Tortorete and Nelson have been notified of this information, Doering said.
Both Nelson and Tortorete had filed restraining orders against each other earlier this year, according Glynn County Magistrate Court records. Tortorete filed a warrant on Jan. 25 against Nelson, claiming Nelson was “possessive and obessed.” Tortorete feared he might harm her, she said in the warrant. In her warrant Tortorete described the relationship between the two as short-lived, saying the two dated from Dec. 31 until Jan. 24.
Nelson filed a restraining order against Tortorete on Feb. 6, saying that Tortorete sent him “text messages of wrongful accusations.”
Doering said the police department might release further details on the shooting as early as today.
“We will be going back to the scene tomorrow,” he said Wednesday. “We have a few things still to do, a few hypotheses we want to verify. But we don’t want to put something out that’s still preliminary.”