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Murder-suicide claims lives of former locals

By MARK SMITH
Staff

Long-time acquaintances who had lived together for years in a Piney Creek subdivision died Monday, Nov. 8, in southwestern Virgina in a murder-suicide.

Jane "Dixie" Boyles, 61, was shot to death in the vehicle of John Catanzaro, 62, both of Abingdon, Va., shortly before he pulled off near an Interstate 81 exit ramp and killed himself.

In mid-August, Boyles had applied for a protective order against Catanzaro. She said she felt fearful and had been the victim of verbal and physical abuse for several years.

"I am afraid of him" Boyles wrote in her request for a protective order. "I am afraid in my own home." The couple had lived together in Abingdon until just recently.

According to a media report, Boyles had written that Catanzaro became furious on one occasion when she didn't make dinner for him. He cursed her, she said, and grabbed her by the back of her neck and squirted water from a garden hose at her. According to Diana Travis of Charlotte, who had known both Boyles and Catanzaro when she and her husband lived in Piney Creek, it was worse than that.

"He stuck it down her throat," Travis said. Boyles said she and Catanzaro had made a stab at counseling, but it hadn't worked out. Instead, she said, the abuse had grown worse during the past 10 months.

According to Travis, Boyles nonetheless had thought she retained some control over things, although matters became sufficiently difficult for her to break up with Catanzaro, buy a new home in Abingdon and make sure the locks were all new.

According to the Smyth County Sheriff's Office, Catanzaro appeared Monday morning at the Chilhowie, Va., home of Boyles' parents, Mitchell Waters, 86, and his wife, who Boyle said is in her 70's.

He stayed at the home all day, said Sheriff David Bradley, "talking about Mrs. Boyles."

Around 5:30 p.m., Catanzaro announced that he had a gun and forced Mrs. Waters to call Boyles and tell her Mitchell Waters was ill and she should drive over.

After Mrs. Waters hung up, Catanzaro bound both husband and wife and "waited on Boyles to arrive." When she showed up, she was assaulted by Catanzaro and bound by the wrists and ankles. She was deposited in a 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe, but before Catanzaro drove away, he untied the Waterses and warned them against calling the police.


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