A MARYLAND man who killed his wife and three children before fatally shooting himself left behind five notes, including an apology to family members, and hints that he suffered from psychiatric problems, authorities said.
The local sheriff said there were also signs the family had financial problems.
For residents of the small town of Middletown and members of Holy Family Catholic Community Church, where the slain mother taught catechism, reports of the brutal killings were upsetting and baffling.
“We’re all in shock and trying to come to terms,” said Kevin Farmer, the pastor of Holy Family.
Christopher Alan Wood killed his wife and children, then himself, in their northwest Maryland home, leaving a gruesome scene that authorities said was found on Saturday by the children’s grandfather.
The 33-year-old mother and three children suffered “traumatic cuts” and each also had at least one gunshot wound from a .25-calibre handgun, Frederick county sheriff Charles Jenkins said.
Their precise cause of death wasn’t immediately known, and Jenkins declined to say what was used to slash them.
Jenkins said Wood, an accountant, apologised to family members in one of the notes he left at the scene.
The sheriff also said there was evidence that Wood faced financial problems and may have been in debt.
The family had moved months ago to Middletown, a community of around 3,000 people about 16km west of Frederick, friends said.
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