Police arrested their neighbor, 54-year-old Linda Anderson. Reports say the Goerlichs were friendly with Anderson, but they got into an argument Thursday night.
Anderson has been charged with first-degree murder.
Lawrence Halbert and Bob Davidson say they're saddened to hear about the murders of Robert and Shirley Goerlich. Davidson lived next door to the Goerlichs in Unadilla.
"Both were talented people. What a shock for something violent like this to happen," says Davidson.
Lawrence Halbert worked with Shirley Goerlich through the Sidney Historical Society. "Very well liked in this community? Oh yeah, extremely dedicated to the village," says Halbert.
Shirley was an historian who wrote at least nine books on the history of Unadilla, Sidney, and area cemeteries. "Her books, she wrote about who was buried in certain graveyards, but she also wrote about the histories of the families," says Halbert. She also worked with the East Guilford Cemetery Association and the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Sidney.
Robert worked for Link Simulation in Kirkwood, after he served as a Lieutenant Colonial in the Army for about 20 years.
"To meet them, very, very relaxed, very friendly. They, he, enjoyed walking and we would see each other quite a bit since we lived fairly close to each other," says Davidson.
The Goerlichs lived on Otsego County Route 1, on the same land where Shirley grew up. In the wintertime, the couple would go to a retirement area in Florida. Davidson says the couple usually returns home in April. And if they'd come home sooner, this tragedy could have been avoided.
The Goerlichs are survived by two sons; one lives in Cortland and the other in Virginia. Funeral arrangements are pending.