Investigators find Bath Salts in car involved in Tamms police chase, shooting

Bobby and Lisa Curtis
Bobby and Lisa Curtis
(Left to right) Jeremy, Bobby & Lisa Curtis
(Left to right) Jeremy, Bobby & Lisa Curtis

TAMMS, IL (KFVS) - Illinois State Police investigators say they've found a powder that tested positive for bath salts in the car involved in a police pursuit that ended with a police officer shooting one man and investigators finding his wife dead in the front seat.

Family members say the find may explain the couple's bizarre behavior and the actions that ultimately lead to the death of 48-year-old Bobby Curtis and his Wife, 50-year-old Lisa Curtis.

"Bobby loved Lisa, he would never hurt Lisa, and Lisa loved Bobby," said Bobby Curtis' sister, Belinda Van Dommelen.

Van Dommelen says her brother and sister-in-law had been deeply depressed since the death of their 17-year-old son Jeremy. The teen was run over by a car and killed in 2005. It That's why Van Dommelen thinks Bobby and Lisa may have made a decision to end their lives long before the police chase that ended in a Tamms neighborhood.

"When they left Florida, they left everything they owned behind. They gave everything they owned away except what they had in their car," Van Dommelen said.

Van Dommelen says the couple acted oddly when they arrived at her home in southern Illinois earlier this summer. Then the couple went back on the road to visit family and friends in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

"They went to everybody's houses. Everybody says how empty-eyed they looked, how hollow they were, how confused they looked. They were saying their goodbyes," Van Dommelen said.

The Curtis' then returned to southern Illinois. Van Dommelen says Bobby and Lisa's behavior continued to be out-of-character. They were hallucinating and both had delusions of biblical proportions.

"They were very confused, Very delusional," said Van Dommelen. "Seeing angels, writing, pictures and things in the clouds. All the way back to Bobby and Lisa saying they were the descendents of Judah."

The Sunday before their deaths, the couple was taken to the Delta Center in Cairo and then to Union County Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. According to Van Dommelen, her brother and sister-in-law asked the hospital staff if they could go outside and smoke a cigarette. When they did, she says, they ran away from the help they desperately needed.

"I knew they were in danger of hurting themselves or others as well. I wanted help for both of them. Bobby was not the only one who left the hospital that night; Lisa was every bit as delusional as Bobby was. They both needed professional help and they fell through the cracks," Van Dommelen said.

Two days after the couple left the hospital, a police chase took place, Bobby Curtis was shot by an officer and Lisa Curtis was found strangled, stabbed and dead in the car.

But Van Dommelen says she doesn't think anger brought about Lisa or Bobby's death. She thinks it may have been love and loss that drove them to this violent end.

"I think it was a suicide pact," Van Dommelen said. "Lisa repented her sins, bobby repented his sins, and the police chase began. They knew they'd go to heaven with Jeremy. That's all they ever wanted was to be with Jeremy."

Powder collected out of Bobby and Lisa Curtis' car was sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab and tested positive for the substance in bath salts. However, investigators say there's no way to prove the couple had used the bath salts until toxicology reports come back in a few weeks.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.