An elderly couple in Washington state was found dead in their home in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said, and police say they discovered notes about the couple’s struggle to afford necessary medical care.

A 77-year-old man living near Ferndale, Wash., called 911 Wednesday morning and told the dispatcher he was contemplating suicide, according to a Facebook post from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff's office wrote that the dispatcher tried to keep the man on the line, but he hung up, saying, “We will be in the front bedroom.”

Deputies arrived at the scene minutes later, according to the Facebook post, and a crisis negotiator “attempted to contact the occupants of the home” for an hour. Deputies then deployed a “robot mounted camera” into the home and saw the man and his wife were dead. Both appear to have died from a gunshot wound. 

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The sheriff’s office is now investigating the case as a murder-suicide. Several notes were reportedly left in the home “citing severe ongoing medical problems with the wife and expressing concerns that the couple did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care," according to the sheriff's statement.

“It is very tragic that one of our senior citizens would find himself in such desperate circumstances where he felt murder and suicide were the only option. Help is always available with a call to 9-1-1,” Bill Elfo, Whatcom County Sheriff, said in the post.

The identities of the man and woman will not be released until after the next of kin are notified.

Two dogs were also found in the house and have been taken to a local Humane Society. “Numerous” firearms were also found.

The Hill has reached out to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office for comment. 

People experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.