A New Hampshire couple who were shot to death Friday had previously lived and worked in Maine, according to friends of the family.

James Eckert is shown at a road race aid station in Woodstock, Vermont, on July 21, 2018. Officials said Eckert and his wife, Lizette Eckert, were found shot Friday morning inside a home in Alton, N.H. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and he died Friday night. An 11-year-boy was arrested in the case. Bob Dunfey via Associated Press

James Eckert, 48, and Lizette Eckert, 50, were found Friday morning inside a home in Alton, New Hampshire, The Associated Press reported. An 11-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with the shootings.

The couple, both chiropractors, previously lived in Raymond and operated Innate Chiropractic in South Portland for more than a decade in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to former employees who remained friends with the Eckerts.

Jenifer Edwards of Portland, who worked for the Eckerts for six months in 2000, said she was struck with horror when she learned that the couple had been killed.

“They were tremendous people,” Edwards said. “They were very community oriented. They believed that the body had an innate ability to heal itself.”

Lizette Eckert was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed she died from a single gunshot wound to the head. James Eckert was taken to a hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead late Friday night. An autopsy on his body was scheduled to take place Monday.

Before James Eckert’s death, authorities arrested and charged an 11-year-boy with one count of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the case. It wasn’t known whether additional charges would be filed. Officials haven’t said what connection if any the boy has to the Eckerts.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office said in a news release that “since the alleged perpetrator is a juvenile, the law precludes any further information from being released.”

A 2011 Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing shows that both Eckerts were then self-employed as chiropractors in South Portland and owned a lakeside home in Raymond, the Boston Globe reported.

The filing shows the family owned bunk beds, children’s toys and other furniture, as well as two Kel-Tec P-3AT handguns, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle.

Authorities have not said what kind of gun or guns were used to shoot the Eckerts.

Friends in Maine said the Eckerts had a biological teenage daughter and two adopted sons who were pre-teens and brothers.

Kelly Worster, a chiropractor who lives and practices in Portland, described Lizette Eckert as loving and generous, and James Eckert as goal-oriented and tenacious.

“Lizette was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known,” Worster said, her voice trembling with emotion. “She had a big heart and she loved those kids.”

Worster’s heart “fell through the floor” when she learned about the shootings on Friday. At the time, James Eckert was still alive, and Worster hoped that he would survive.

“He was the kind of guy, if you told him he couldn’t do something, that would become his next goal,” Worster said.

The Eckerts met at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, where they were both top students, Worster said. She credited the Eckerts with showing her the healing benefits of chiropractic treatment.

“They’re the reason I became a chiropractor,” Worster said. “I was referred to them in May 1998. I got adjusted and loved it. Within six months I was working there as a chiropractic assistant and wound up managing the practice.”

Worster worked for the Eckerts for two years. When she later went to chiropractic college, she often called Lizette Eckert for support. “She got me through a lot of bad days,” Worster said.

Lately, the two women kept in touch through Facebook. In their last message exchange, Eckert wrote to Worster, “Life is good.”

“You think you’re going to have forever,” Worster said.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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