Boy Featured on "Too Fat for 15" Dead in Apparent Homicide-Suicide

By Matthew Stabley and Jackie Bensen
|  Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011  |  Updated 10:04 PM EDT
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A mother and son in Kensington, Md. died in an apparent murder-suicide. Devastated family members spoke to News4 about the tragedy. Jackie Bensen has the story.

A mother and son in Kensington, Md. died in an apparent murder-suicide. Devastated family members spoke to News4 about the tragedy. Jackie Bensen has the story.

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Detectives are investigating the death of a 13-year-old boy and his mother as an apparent murder-suicide, according to Montgomery County police.

A coworker of 54-year-old Dr. Margaret Ferne Jensvold called police Tuesday afternoon after being unable to contact her for several days. Officers found Jensvold and her son, Ben Barnhard, dead in their bedrooms in their home in the unit block of Simms Court in Kensington, Md., police said. There was evidence of trauma to both bodies.

Police believe Jensvold shot her son before killing herself, according to the Washington Post.

The boy’s father, Jamie Barnhard, told News4’s Jackie Bensen that Ben recently graduated from Wellspring Academy, the boarding school for overweight kids in rural North Carolina that had been featured on the show “Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back” on Style Network.

Jamie Barnhard said he was proud of his son for many reasons, including his recent 100-pound weight loss, which was featured on the TV show.

“He had a very successful year,” Jamie Barnhard said. “He was supposed to start school in the fall, at one of the Montgomery County schools.”

“I was incredibly proud of him and I loved him more than anyone can ever imagine,” he added. “I loved his mother as well, and we held no animosity toward each other whatsoever."

Jamie Barnhard described Jensvold as a lovely mother, Bensen said.

Jensvold was a well-respected psychiatrist. She was named one of the Top 100 doctors in the area in a survey a few years ago, Bensen reported. She co-edited the book “Psychopharmacology and Women: Sex, Gender, and Hormones” and contributed to the book “Psychopharmacology from a Feminist Perspective.”

Style Network is part of the E! Entertainment group of channels, a division of NBCUniversal, parent company of WRC.

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