Husband kills wife and three children before turning the gun on himself a day after losing his job
42-year-old Matthew Edwards, his 41-year-old wife Julie Burton Edwards and their children were found dead in their home in Delaware
Five people were discovered shot to death in their home in Delaware in what is being considered a murder-suicide that took place on July 9. The bodies included those of three children who are all under the age of eight. The Delaware State Police have confirmed that 42-year-old Matthew Edwards died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His 41-year-old wife Julie Burton Edwards, along with their children — 6-year-old Jacob, 4-year-old Brinley, and 3-year-old Paxton — were found dead in their home in Wilmington.
The Delaware State Police said that they were called to the family home shortly after 8 p.m. for an investigation into the deaths. One of the neighbors told the authorities that a teenage boy had been the one who discovered the bodies of the family. All the corpses were found in the upper level of the family's two-story home.
The same neighbor told WPVI-TV that Edwards had seemed "emotional" one day before he was found dead and also revealed to the news channel that he had lost his job a day earlier. Edwards had also allegedly confessed to the neighbor that he was having marital problems at the time. The neighbor then said that they had comforted Edwards when he had confessed intimate details of his life and told him to "just worry about your kids".
The police told the rest of the community that there was no concern for any public safety after the shooting had occurred. Neighbors of the family had said that they had seen the family of five playing together outside just the day before their tragic deaths.
One neighbor, Brian Covenko, told NBC 10 in an interview: "We're kind of in shock because we're really friendly with them. We know them on a personal level, our kids hang together, we talk all the time." He also said that he saw Edwards often playing with his children in the front yard of the house.
He added: "I don't know what happened inside, but I know he was outside with his kids a lot." Neighbors mentioned to the news channels that they had not noticed that the family was having any problems before.
Tributes for Julie and the three children have already started rushing in. She was an active member of the Williams syndrome community after their son, Jacob, had been diagnosed with the disorder which causes intellectual disability, distinctive facial features, and heart issues. She had also recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of Jacob's successful open-heart surgery with a post on Facebook.
Heather Cruz told the Daily Mail that Julie had been an "incredible friend and mother". Tiffany Maraccini, 6-year-old Brinley's godmother and Julie's best friend of almost 30 years, said that there were "no words" for the pain she is feeling you right now.
She told the publication: "I don't know how I'm supposed to do this without her. I miss her so much and I keep wishing this was just the most horrible dream. There's not a life moment that she hasn't been a part of. We met our freshman year of high school and have remained friends through all the years, miles, and time zones."
"I knew if I ever needed anything, she was simply a phone call or plane ride away. She was the fiercest, most loyal person I knew who would do anything for anyone. She loved so completely and deeply, everyone who knew her was better for it. Those three babies of hers were so blessed to have her as their momma."
William Burton, Julie's brother, posted a status on Facebook talking about how he felt "numb, heartbroken, and angry beyond belief". He wrote: "Tonight heaven gained four angels, my sister Julie Burton Edwards, nephew Jacob, nephew Paxton, and niece Brinley. Please pull your loved ones close, hold them tight and enjoy the moment, you don't know how many more there will be."
A GoFundMe page was set up by William for the family's funeral expenses and has managed to raise a little more than $10,000 of it's $20,000 goal in just 19 hours.