Search warrant reveals deputy witnessed Pittsylvania County husband, wife murder-suicide

Incident happened Thursday morning in Gretna

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Dane Towler killed his wife Patricia in a Dairy Queen parking lot before killing himself as a sheriff’s deputy watched, according to a search warrant.

Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Deputy Ashworth was at the Dairy Queen on West Gretna Road when a silver 2014 Honda Accord pulled up next to him.

When Patricia Towler, who was in the Accord, alerted Ashworth that she was being held hostage, Dane pulled out a gun, shot his wife and then shot himself, according to the warrant.

Ashworth is listed as a school resource officer at Gretna Middle School in Pittsylvania County.

The couple’s infant child, who was inside the car, was not hurt during the murder-suicide.

Church members and the pastor at White Oak Worship Center declined on-camera interviews with the media on Friday, but told 10 News they loved Patricia very much and they were proud of her.

Patricia worked at a Caswell Family Medical Center based in North Carolina as a registered nurse and clinical operations manager.

The company took to Facebook expressing sadness, saying:

“It is with great sadness that Caswell Family Medical Center, Inc. (CFMC) announces the loss of Patricia Towler, RN. For 18 years, she blessed CFMC with a level of commitment and passion to community health that can only be described as exemplary. Beginning as a staff nurse and later as Clinical Operations Manager, Tricia approached each day with a tenacity for the highest standard of quality care, but more than that: an innate desire to make the world a better a place for everyone. She gave tirelessly of herself to family, coworkers and patients, often going above and beyond to pass on the purest of Godly love. She used a quote from Patch Adams in her email signature: “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” No other words could better describe the power from which Patricia’s presence brought healing that far exceeded anything traditional medicine could do alone. Her commitment to excellence in how healthcare is delivered was evident in the way she mentored all CFMC’s staff, especially her nurses, to perform at a level that exceeded their own expectations. Her life represents a level of humanity that all should strive for. CFMC extends the deepest of sympathies to her family, especially those that were so clearly closest to her heart and that she was so very proud of: her two sons, Joshua and Eben. We all have been made better because of you, Tricia. We will always love you.”

Church members said Patricia loved being a nurse. She attended White Oak Worship Center for nine years.

She was involved with the Impact Girls youth program and worked with girls six to eight years old.

They added that even when she had her infant son, she still offered to be available for the program.

The Towlers lived on Tightsqueeze Road.

Neighbors were too emotional for on camera interviews but told 10 News they are still trying to make sense of the situation and want to know why.

Towler’s funeral service will be held Saturday at White Oak Worship Center.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help raise money for the Patricia’s two sons. As of 5 p.m. Friday, more than $4,000 has been raised.