Police are investigating the deaths of a Maine family who were found fatally shot outside their apartment Sunday afternoon.
Authorities said the victims were a husband and a wife in their mid-30s and three children; boys ages 12 and 7, as well as a 4-year-old girl. Maine Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Harriman said the identities of the victims would most likely not be released until later today, after the victims’ relatives are first notified.
“All indications are that no one outside of the family was responsible for the deaths,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said late Sunday. “These are not accidental deaths.”
A detective told the Associated Press that a murder-suicide scenario is among those being investigated.
The Portland press Herald reported that the family’s neighbors in the town of Saco, approximately 10 miles south of Portland heard what sounded like “firecrackers” at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. Another neighbor told the paper that she saw the father drive away from the apartment Sunday morning before returning a short time after.
“I still don’t want to believe it,” said Heather Nason, who used to babysit the three children. “I love those children like they were my own.”
The gruesome discovery was made after a family friend contacted an apartment complex worker to express concerns about the family’s well-being, investigators said. The worker then entered the apartment to find one dead body, and alerted the police immediately.
Police said the family’s bodies were found in three bedrooms. Police also recovered a firearm in the apartment along with shell casings.
Neighbors described the father of the family as being well known in the apartment complex because he was one of the maintenance workers.
They also described the family as friendly, whose children were part of a group of neighborhood kids that rode their bikes or played tag amongst other games in a community that residents describe as safe.
Maine Family Murder Believed Not to Be Accidental