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screenshot, YouTube - Kathy Stockdale

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Inside 'Wife Swap' murders where child killed mom and brother 9 years after show

Jacob Stockdale appeared on Wife Swap in 2008, but nine years later, he ended up killing his mother and youngest brother and was convicted over the murders.

Wife Swap documents the life of two families as two wives from different backgrounds swap families and homes for a week.

The ABC show aired in 2004 and they’ve given us nothing less-than-unbelievable episodes. Remember the Haigwood family from 2007 who swore to only brush their teeth with butter and eating raw meats? The Hess-Web’s definitely weren’t having it.

The Stockdale’s also stunned viewers with their religious parenting methods. Sadly, the family faced a double tragedy in 2017 when son Jacob murdered his brother and mother.

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‘Wife Swap’ murders: Stockdale’s had strict rules

In 2008, Kathryn Stockdale swapped homes and families with Laurie Tonkovic. The Stockdale children – Calvin, Charles, Jacob, and James – were raised with strict Christian beliefs.

Describing themselves as a “wholesome family bluegrass band”, Kathryn and husband, Timothy kept strict rules. They didn’t allow the boys to date because of “physical dangers like pregnancy. It’s not worth it. It’s important we have control over their character and their education.”

The children also had to earn privileges like listening to the radio since they needed protection from “bad influences.”

Jacob ended up shooting his mom and brother

On 15 June 2017, authorities found Jacob, then age 25, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head at the Stockdale Family Farm in Beach City, Ohio. The bodies of Kathryn, 54, and James, 21, were discovered further inside.

Jacob had shot his mother and brother before turning the weapon on himself; doctors were able to save him.

Following the deaths, Timothy wrote in a statement about his late wife:

“Kathy has been my beloved wife of 32 years and a wonderful mother to our four sons. She loved nothing more than being a mother and grandmother. She had a strong love of learning and was passionate about her Christian faith, natural health, and organic farming.”

Calvin, the eldest brother, commented:

“James, our youngest brother, has always been a catalyst of family fun. Aside from being a gifted musician, James enjoyed dancing and had a innate love of people. James was working on a business degree and hope to go into the business side of entertainment. He leaves behind many friends and a family that love him dearly.”

Where is Jacob Stockdale now?

In 2018, Jacob pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, so he spent two years in mental health facilities – he reportedly tried to escape twice.

In 2021 discovered that he was sane at the time of murders. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in jail, 15 years for each murder charge.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.