RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Friends say Anna Goodridge made sure her husband, Thomas Goodridge, took medication for his bipolar disorder every day.
The 76-year-old woman spent her days practicing Buddhism, meditating, exercising, painting abstract pieces to hang in local galleries and taking care of Thomas.
“She was a very centered Zen person, and I’m sure it was because of having to deal with someone with mental illness,” said Geri Verble, a close friend. “I think it was a very difficult thing for her. She did the best she could to keep herself calm. She painted as part of her healing process, I believe.”
Shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday, police were called to the couple’s adobe home on a cul-de-sac in a quiet Placitas subdivision. The caller was Thomas Goodridge, Anna’s husband of 43 years. He said he had murdered his wife, according to a criminal complaint filed in Sandoval County Magistrate Court.
Thomas, 72, told detectives Anna was sleeping when he picked up a rock and hit her on the head over and over until he was sure she was dead. Then he called police, brushed his teeth and combed his hair while he waited for officers to arrive.
When detectives interviewed Thomas, he said the couple hadn’t been having any issues and he described Anna as “the best,” according to the complaint. He said he had taken his medication for his bipolar disorder before bed and felt normal, but he had been hearing voices recently that told him he and his wife were going to be hurt.
He said the voices told him “that we were both going to be harmed, and if I did not want her to be harmed, I would have to take her life,” according to the complaint.
Thomas was arrested and charged with murder. He was booked into the Sandoval County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
Friends who knew the couple say they were aware of Thomas’s mental illness, but believed it was under control. They said Thomas and Anna had just sold their Placitas home and bought a place in Albuquerque so they could be closer to the amenities of the city.
“She was excited about her new life adventure,” said Sonya Coppo, a close friend who talked to her the day before she died. “She talked about all the things that she was packing, and where they were and what she was going to do with them. Some she wanted to just give away, which is just like her.”
Coppo said Anna and Thomas met in California when they were both teachers and moved together to Albuquerque where they both continued to teach. They didn’t have any children, but were very close to her nieces and nephews.
Coppo said they had moved to Placitas about 20 years ago and Anna joined a group of local artists. She showed her work in a gallery in Old Town and displayed it online.
She said although Anna would talk about her struggles with Thomas and his mental illness, she never had any reason to believe her life was in danger.
“She was a loving and caring wife who lived with someone who was ill,” Coppo said. “She did everything she could to understand who he was and to make his life easy. That’s one of the things I really admired about her.”