Family calls victims of West Nashville stabbing ‘soulmates’

Crime Tracker

The family of the couple stabbed at their home in Sylvan Park Friday, described the couple as soul mates.

The random attack on Leigh Ann and Donald Zirkle, while they were sitting on their back porch, has been hard from the family to digest.

“It was very difficult to wrap our arms around because it was in the middle of the day, neighbors were out, neighbors heard her scream,” said Bernie Werrbach, Leigh Ann’s cousin, told News 2.

He says it was also neighbors that saved her life.

“The neighbors saved her life,’ Werrbach said. “The lady that was first on the scene to tend to her until police got there was critical.”

While Leigh Ann is still recovering in the hospital, her love, Donald, didn’t survive.

“I think they’ve been married about 18 years. They had no kids. It’s funny they met as neighbors,” Werrbach said.

He says the couple led a peaceful, private life. Leigh Ann dedicated her career to Caterpillar Financial while Donald was an architectural engineer and a substitute teacher.

“He loved being a teacher,” Werrbach explained. “He talked about it all the time — how much personal enjoyment he got out of teaching that it fulfilled his life.”

While the family had a lot of questions about why their loved ones became victims. Werrbach says they are feeling some closure now that the suspect is no longer on the streets.

“It’s traumatic, but I think we as a family have got closure because we know kind of now what happened,” he said. “There is relief that we can now at least close that chapter of the book. That has been a tremendous weight off [of] the entire family.”

He says the family can’t thank Metro police and officials in Texas enough for their hard work, and now they can turn their attention to healing Leigh Ann.

“All we are going to worry and focus on is her getting better,” he said.

Leigh Ann is still in critical condition at Vanderbilt, according to Metro Police. Her family says funeral plans for Donald have not been set.

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