Denise Solano

Denise Solano
by Leanne Tokars

MONTEREY — Police say the man who murdered his wife and then turned the gun on himself is mentally unstable. As of Monday afternoon, Tomas Solano was in critical condition at a Michigan City hospital.

Police say Solano shot and killed his wife Denise outside their home in Monterey on Sunday. That’s in Pulaski County.

He then fled about 58 miles to Michigan City. Police say they tracked his cell phone to the Greenwood Cemetery, where he shot himself in the head.

Monterey is so small, you can clearly see from one end of town to the other end.

“People come in, work, drink a little beer, take some home and work the next day,” explained Darlene Denton at the Corner Tavern.

In the quiet town, no one ever expected murder.

“They were good people, but they had problems with their family, with their relationships, with taking care of the kids,” said Joanna Perez who lives across the street and considered the couple friends.

Police were often called to their house on Center Street.

They say both Tomas and Denise had been arrested several times before, mostly for battery to each other.

In fact, they say Denise had just gotten out of jail days before the shooting.

“We tried to help them and guide them in the right way, but it just seemed like it wasn't helping,” said Perez.

But she also says Denise was trying to fix her life and get her 5 kids back from foster care this summer.

Child Protective Services wouldn’t reveal when the children were taken or why, but police confirmed the kids had been in protective custody when the shooting happened.

“She had kids she left. I mean she might not have done everything right, but she didn't need to go that way," added Perez through tears.

It’s a tragedy that's touched many in town. It’s left Denton wondering 'what if.'

“It's too bad that maybe more help wasn't available — that it had to end this way,” said Denton.

Police also arrested Timothy McCorkle of Monterey in this case. They believe he gave the rifle to Solano, knowing he planned to use it to kill his wife.

Child Protective Services says in a situation like this, they will provide counseling to the children and try to keep them together as they cope with what has happened.


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