A ‘gentle giant’ who died alongside a stranger in a suspected suicide pact on social media has posted eerie images of skulls, bullets, the grim reaper and women holding armed guns online.
Barry Houston, 52, and Sonja Kovacevic, 48, were found dead with gunshot wounds in a backyard in Caloundra West, on the Sunshine Coast, around 6.30pm on Monday.
Police believe the couple, both contemplating suicide, logged onto social media before Mr Houston left his home in Browns Plains, south Brisbane, to meet Ms Kovacevic and enact a plan well orchestrated to end their lives.
As detectives scramble to piece together the intricacies of the unusual case, Daily Mail Australia can reveal Mr Houston was an outdoor enthusiast from south Brisbane.
A close friend told Daily Mail Australia that Mr Houston was a big-hearted ‘gentle giant’ who was often ‘misunderstood’ due to his tall stature, standing over six feet tall.
He said he was a loyal friend, a loving son and a “great guy” in every way.
Barry Houston, 52 (pictured), was remembered by friends as a ‘gentle giant’ after his tragic death in a suspected murder-suicide in Caloundra West on Monday
A friend said Mr Houston had several guns but was not a ‘crazy shooter’ but used them as he was a keen hunter.
“A lot of people didn’t know how to take it. He was a big guy. But he always put others before himself,” he said.
Mr. Houston was a childless divorcee who no longer worked due to a disability and described himself online as a fan of “hunting, shooting, camping, fishing, rainforests, cars and bourbon!”.
He owned several guns, the friend said, and while he was an avid hunter, he was not a “crazy shooter” who just shot things to kill them.
He often posted photos of his interests on his multiple Facebook accounts, including images of guns, wild animals like bears and wolves, and scenic photos of forests.
Police believe Mr Houston and Sonja Kovacevic, 48, met on social media before making a murder-suicide pact at the Caloundra West home (pictured)
Mr Houston has often shared photos (one photo) online of his interests, including wilderness and firearms
However, some charts released in recent years provide insight into Mr. Houston’s possible gloomy state of mind.
An image released in 2019 shows a woman reminiscent of comic book character Harley Quinn sitting on a sofa surrounded by bullets holding a gun, with “you want to play with me” smudged on a wall of blood behind her.
Another shows a skull biting down on a bullet while a third features a grim reaper pointing at the viewer, with #Whataboutus superimposed over the image, in reference to Pink’s hit song.
The friend said Mr Houston used chat rooms where he talked to women in the past, but was unsure if he still was.
He said Mr Houston had also had issues with women in the past and that the circumstances surrounding his death “seemed fake and didn’t add up”.
The shocking tragedy shakes Mr Houston’s friendship circle, with his friends ‘still trying to figure out what happened’.
“There is a hole that will never be filled,” his longtime friend said.
A bizarre post featured a woman with a gun cocked, surrounded by bullets, with blood smeared on the wall behind her
“He always supported me. We went everywhere together – fishing, camping. He was my best mate.
“He’s a guy who couldn’t swim but would go get your $5 lure if he got stuck, because he knew it got you fish.”
Mr Houston once worked on a flower farm in Park Ridge but left about 20 years ago after suffering health problems from the chemicals involved. Since then, he received a disability pension.
He was supposed to be living with his family at the time of his death.
The twin deaths have rocked the sleepy coastal town, with veteran detectives describing the case as the most puzzling scene in three decades.
Police said the deaths were so meticulously planned they appeared “clinical”, with evidence showing items had been packed into boxes before the shooting.
Ms Kovacevic phoned police before the shooting, telling officers she was planning to take her own life.
Police believe Mr Houston then shot him with a high powered rifle before turning on himself.
An image posted on Mr Houston’s page showed a skull biting a bullet
The Teal Street home where the couple were found was only occupied by tenants for six months after being put up for rent in August.
Ms. Kovacevic is said to have lived in the house, but it is still unclear whether there were other occupants.
Acting Detective Inspector John Mahony said police were trying to establish how long the pair communicated through analysis of their devices.
“Investigations so far suggest that the 52-year-old man took the life of the 48-year-old woman and then very shortly afterwards took his own life,” the inspector said. Mahony.
Ms Kovacevic, who was involved in a family court case at the time of her death, was reportedly known to police for non-criminal matters.
Neighbors said Ms Kovacevic had seemed melancholic in recent weeks, with one saying she hoped the woman was now in a “better place” and sent her condolences to her family.
Other residents said they were shocked by the deaths in a generally quiet suburb after hearing loud bangs on Monday night.
The couple were found dead with gunshot wounds in the backyard of the Teal Street property (pictured)
The three-bedroom property had only been occupied for six months after being put on the rental market in August
Acting Detective Inspector John Mahony (pictured) said it appeared Mr Houston had shot Ms Kovacevic before turning the gun on himself
Caloundra, the southernmost town on the Sunshine Coast, is a well-known holiday resort, with a population of around 51,000.
Their deaths came weeks after the alleged murder-suicide of a mother and two children in Perth.
Abiyah, 10, and Aiden Selvan, eight, died in a car fire alongside their mother Selvamma Doreswamy, 40, at John Graham Reserve, Coogee, on March 14.
The death of the ‘normal’ and ‘happy’ family has rocked the tight-knit community of Canning Vale in the south of the city, where a memorial has emerged outside the children’s school, Providence Christian College.
The children’s father, Selvan Govindhan Vairavan, received the heartbreaking news on the first day of a trip to the United States to visit an ailing relative.
He has since returned home as he prepares to bid farewell to his wife and two young children.
For confidential assistance in Australia, contact Lifeline: 13 11 14, Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636, or Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467.