Husband and wife die on same day of natural causes
COLUMBIA - In a story that could be straight out of a movie, a Columbia couple both died of natural causes Tuesday. Officers responded to the couple's home around 2 a.m. Tuesday and found Robert and Karen Moranda lying on the floor. Police pronounced Karen Moranda dead at the scene, and the police report said Robert was in cardiac arrest and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
On Thursday, Karen's sister looked back on the couple's lives.
"Karen and Bob, they were passionate people, but not passionate romantic type of people, they were passionate in arguing," Theresa Myers said.
They met in Moberly in the 1970s. He was working at a carnival, and she was still in high school.
"He didn't end up going with the carnival, he stuck around, and they ended up getting married very young," Myers said.
Myers said they were married for 38 years.
"They were a sarcastic, bickering kind of bunch, but they always stayed together and they loved each other," Myers said.
She said Karen was a smoker and ended up with emphysema, a lung disease that blocks air flow and makes it hard to breathe. She was on an oxygen tank. Myers said she had to stop working because her breathing got worse, and Robert took care of her by taking her to the doctor and waking up every few hours to check on her throughout the night.
"He'd bring flowers in for her and showed the little ways he loved her. It's just really shocking to me that he made this grand gesture it feels like 'hey I can't be without you,'" Myers said.
The family asked to not have a formal autopsy, but speculate it was a broken heart that caused his cardiac arrest.
"Part of me thinks it was the shock, and another part of me wants to say that he just wants to aggravate her. This is just my imagination, but I could see her after she crossed over, and she turns around and looks and there he is, and she would be like 'what are you doing here?'" Myers said.
The American Heart Association said dying of a broken heart is a real thing people can die from. Broken Heart Syndrome is also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy. In broken heart syndrome, a part of the heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.
It is unclear the exact cause of Robert's cardiac arrest.
Family members will spread Karen and Robert's ashes over the ocean in California as a tribute to their love of nature.