The elderly couple who was murdered in their home last week by their son, was laid to rest this afternoon.

Donald and Helen Middleton's funeral service was held at St. Dominic's Catholic Church. The internment was at Mobile Memorial Gardens.

There, they were given a special burial with full military honors a 21 gun salute because Donald was a retired Master Sergeant who served 20 years in the Air Force.

Donald and Helen Middleton

Just before the funeral service, the victim's granddaughter, Tara Ellingburg, who's also their son, 60-year-old Daniel Middleton's daughter, spoke to us briefly.

"I knew that my dad didn't care much about me, but I never thought he would kill his own parents," she said.

The shocking crime happened at the Middleton's home on Kaplan drive. Daniel shot both his 85-year-old parents last Tuesday before turning the gun on himself. 

"It's something that I can't even understand. It's like he wanted to be the center of their world and he was. They did more than any parent should ever have done for any child," Ellingburg explained.

Ellingburg who's been estranged from her father who suffered with mental illness, says her father snapped last week.

"He was a selfish individual. He had been in and out of mental facilities," she explained. "He got kicked out of the group home purposely and my grandfather allowed him to come back. He laid on the couch there everyday."

The Middleton's were just days shy of another anniversary. Sunday would have been their 66th wedding anniversary. Ellingburg said they've left a legacy of love.

"MY paw paw's heart was if he could bring any kind of satisfaction or joy or desire to his family," she explained. "Grandmother was one of the sweetest women you could ever meet, never been anybody a day in her life."

She's now sending a message to others with family members suffering with mental illness. She said she didn't take it as seriously as she should have.

"Trust your intuition. It's been a lot of times that I've had intuitions of things and I've ignored them because you want to give people that benefit of the doubt. Sometimes it's better to pay attention."

Ellingburg said this brings up a conversation about mental health in our local community. She hopes to be an advocate for it someday.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for expenses. To help, click here.

All content © 2018, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  


Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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