Philomath Police Department
Philomath Police (Photo courtesy of Philomath Police Department)

Longtime Philomath resident C.A. Rath shot his wife of 32 years multiple times on the morning of March 7, sent several text messages to relatives and other acquaintances informing them of what he had done and then killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Merry Gay Rath was gone at age 53.

An investigation that has been ongoing for six weeks and is still awaiting final toxicology reports revealed those conclusions, Chief of Police Ken Rueben said in consultation with the Benton County District Attorney’s Office.

Rueben could not immediately answer questions on Tuesday about other details involving the case. However, more information is expected to soon become available on what happened inside the Philomath home on that Sunday morning.

Police were alerted to the residence on March 7 when dispatch received a hang-up 911 call at 10:41 a.m. The Raths lived at Forest Meadows, a manufactured home community located off North 19th Street. Philomath Police responded within 5 minutes of the hang-up. When nobody answered the door and after running plates on a vehicle in the driveway, a Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived to provide assistance. They forced entry into the home and discovered the bodies.

The Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory completed a crime scene investigation and the Benton County deputy medical examiner and the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office performed death investigations. Investigators also reviewed cellphone data and videotape seized from nearby locations, and did interviews of numerous individuals, including relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

The 55-year-old C.A. Rath — whose full name is Carl Anthony Rath — had taught physical education at Philomath Elementary since 1991 and coached various sports teams over the years. Merry Rath, who worked as a hairstylist, and her husband had two children together — both now young adults and living out of state.

The community has shown generous support and concern for their two children in the aftermath of the tragedy, including more than $66,000 raised through a GoFundMe account.