Robert “Bob” Newsholme, a resident of Lee Place in Palm Coast, is known around town for his tax business: “If you need someone to do your taxes, go to Flagler Tax Service, right behind the Chicken Pantry,” goes the young child’s voice on a radio spot for WNZF. Newsholme, 66, has owned the business with his wife for a decade.
On Tuesday, he joined his wife for coffee and a cigarette by the pool around 7:30 in the morning, went back in to get ready for work, re-joined his wife for another cup of coffee, and then seemed to have left for work–or so it seemed to his wife. She stayed by the pool.
A bit later in the morning, as his wife was letting the dogs out, she heard a loud bang. The sound, she told a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy–according to a sheriff’s report–appeared to come from outside. At first she thought it was a package or a parcel being thrown against the fence. She and her 23-year-old son assumed it may have been a covid-testing kit they’d been waiting for, to test Newsholme, though when she checked the perimeter nothing was out of the ordinary.
The bang she had heard was the sound of a gunshot.
Newsholme had shot himself in the chest with a .380-caliber Ruger, which he then placed to the side on the bed. But he did not let anyone know for another 10 hours. When his wife realized his car was still in the driveway around 10 a.m., she found him in the bedroom, under a blanket. She asked him why he was still home. Newsholme told her he had chills and felt like he had a fever, which she attributed to covid symptoms. She went about her day, checking on her husband from time to time. His son checked on him several times as well, also concluding that his father may have been ill with covid.
Just before 6 p.m., his wife noticed that Newsholme’s breathing was “irregular and labored,” according to the report. She asked her son to take him a bottle of water. His son asked him how he was feeling and asked him if he’d rather go to a walk-in clinic. “Robert stated he needed to admit something to” his son, the report states. Newsholme paused, then told his son he’d shot himself that morning. The family immediately called 911. The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue and sheriff’s deputies responded and a helicopter was requested, though it was later cancelled due to weather. Newsholme was transported by ambulance to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.
Family members told authorities of health issues Newsholme was enduring, and that he’d “commented about not wanting to go through this anymore,” according to the report. Some clients had also complained about his work. A few days earlier Newsholme had asked his wife for her checking account number, and later that day found “a large amount of cash under her computer.”
A crime scene was established at the house for a few hours, as is routine in such circumstances, and broken down just before 9 p.m.