VIENNA - The victim of a shooting in Vienna Friday was the wife of the suspected killer, authorities said Saturday.
Carol Ralsten, 70, was found in the basement of her home at 4608 Fourth Ave. with a gunshot wound to her left side and a head injury, Vienna Police Chief George Young said.
Her husband Dr. John Ralsten, 74, was taken into custody after officers negotiated with him for six hours to leave the house, according to Young. Ralsten remains hospitalized at a secure facility for evaluation, Young said.
Carol and John Ralsten
A warrant accusing him of murder was obtained Saturday morning in Wood County Magistrate Court, Young said. The chief and Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton also met Saturday morning.
"Once he is released he will be served with a warrant for first-degree murder," said Young.
Coroner Mike St. Clair said the body will be taken to the West Virginia Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
Dr. John Ralsten, 74, of Vienna will be charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Carol Ralsten, 70, on Friday at their home.
Mrs. Ralsten was found in the basement of the couple's home at 4608 Fourth Ave. following six hours of negotiations between Ralsten and police officials from the Vienna Police Department, Wood County Sheriff's Office, Vienna Fire Department, the SWAT Team and the West Virginia State Police.
Ralsten remains hospitalized at a secure facility for evaluation, said Vienna Police Chief George Young. The suspect will be officially charged with his wife's death following his release from the undisclosed facility.
The incident began 4:23 p.m. Friday when the Wood County 911 Center received a report of an accidental shooting at the Ralsten residence and ended after Ralsten, a radiologist certified by the American Board of Radiologists, was taken into custody by Vienna police at 10:30 p.m.
"We were first notified that Dr. Ralsten shot his wife, Carol, while scuffling in their home and after that information, we met with Dr. Ralsten's son on the corner of 46th Street and Grand Central Avenue," Young said. "At that time we made contact via cell phone with Dr. Ralsten and he indicated that he would not leave his house."
His refusal to leave the house began the six hours of negotiations with officers from the Vienna Police Department, the Wood County Sheriff's Department, the Vienna Fire Department, the S.W.A.T. team and the West Virginia State Police. The Wood County Mobile Command Center also participated in the investigation.
Young said agencies worked together to reach a resolution.
"This investigation is truly a team effort," he said.
After Ralsten was taken into custody, officers entered the home and found Mrs. Ralsten on the basement floor, at which time Vienna Police obtained a warrant to gather further evidence. The crime scene unit from the State Police forensics lab in Charleston performed a physical search of the home late Friday night and into early Saturday morning.
If convicted, Ralsten faces life in prison, Young said.
"Of course, as with all situations like this, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law," he said.
The Ralstens were honored at the Mid-Ohio Valley Marshall University Alumni Association's scholarship fundraiser on Feb. 24 at the Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna.
The Ralstens cared for Matt and Molly Ralsten after their parents, Murrill and Helen Ralsten of Huntington, died Nov. 14, 1970, in the plane crash that killed 75 people including the Marshall University football team.
Murrill Ralsten was John Ralsten's brother. In an earlier interview with The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Matt Ralsten and Molly (Ralsten) Muse, who both live out of state, said John and Carol were wonderful parents.