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Another Dad Kills Wife and Kids

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A father killed his wife and children yesterday. It's the second murder-suicide this week. Is this a disturbing trend?


Earlier this week, an unemployed California father, Ervin Lupoe, killed his wife and five children after both parents had lost their jobs.

Now another murder-suicide has occurred under similar circumstances.

Police said Thursday a man who shot and killed his wife and their two children left a suicide note, then shot himself.

All four bodies were found Wednesday in the family's home in Whitehall, a suburb of Columbus. It appears to be a murder-suicide and that the father was the gunman, police said.

Sgt. Daniel Kelso declined to discuss the contents of the suicide note. A gun was found at the scene, he said.

Autopsies were being performed Thursday. The victims were identified by police as Mark Meeks, 51; Jennifer Dallas-Meeks, 40; and their children, Abbigail, 8, and Jimmy, 5.

All family members had gunshot wounds, Kelso said.

Worried relatives of the couple called police a little before 2 p.m. requesting that officers check on the family's well-being, Kelso said. Police found the four bodies upon arrival.

Neighbor Stephanie Grunkemeyer, 37, said she saw Mark Meeks shoveling his driveway about 11 AM yesterday.

"They were really good people. I'm shocked," she said. "The kids were just the cutest. They'd come play in our yard -- they always wanted to play -- and we'd color the same coloring book a million times."

Mark Meeks had worked as a service manager for a car dealership and Dallas-Meeks was a stay-at-home mom who sold candles from home, said Mike Meeks, 49, of Columbus.

"He was just a good family guy," Meeks said of his brother. "Mark was just the kind of guy who never met a stranger, and he could sell ice to the Eskimos."

A neighbor told NBC Meeks had recently lost his job. However, Meeks' employer at Immke Northwest Honda said Meeks got his job back a few weeks ago.

State records show the couple married in September 1999.

Both children attended elementary school, and Dallas-Meeks was an active PTA member. Jimmy was in kindergarten and Abbigail was a third-grader, though both were home yesterday because of a snow day.

Jim Dallas, the father of Dallas-Meeks, was at a loss to explain why the tragedy occurred.

"They were a loving family," said Dallas. "They were just wonderful people. Why this happened, I have no idea."

Dallas described his daughter as a "super girl," but declined to say much more.

"I'm really pretty broken right now," he said.

Yellow police tape remained around the family's red brick, ranch-style home on Thursday. Family friends stopped by the house and left stuffed animals and personal notes by a bush on the front lawn.

Denise Ford, 39, said she'd known the family for four years.

"I didn't know of any trouble," Ford said. "They just seemed to be a good, normal family."

This is just another in a long line of similar incidences that suggest a disturbing trend.

On Dec. 24, Bruce Pardo, 45, dressed up as Santa Claus and invaded a Christmas Eve party at his ex-wife's parents' home in suburban Covina, opened fire with a gun and set the house ablaze with racing fuel. Ex-wife Sylvia Pardo and eight relatives were fatally shot or burned. Pardo later killed himself.

In October, a 45-year-old unemployed financial manager despairing over extreme money problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and himself in their home in the Porter Ranch area of the San Fernando Valley.

Karthik Rajaram wrote in a suicide letter he felt the honorable choice was to kill himself and his family instead of just himself, police said.

As the economy worsens, will we be seeing more and more of these cases?

next: NBC Bans PETA's Racy Super Bowl Ad
181 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cat January 29, 2009, 4:34 PM

Whoever wrote this article, especially the headline, needs to check their facts. Nearly every REPUTABLE news source has indicated that while the suspect was laid off recently, he more recently got his job back at the Honda dealership where he worked previously. Check CNN and AP before you believe this obviously misandristic writer.

Michael January 29, 2009, 4:42 PM

I wanted to weigh on this as it has a personal ring to me. When I was viciously and unjustly terminated from my employment, as a father it was devastating. All I could picture in my mind was potential homelessness and starvation. “Unemployed dad” has a pariah like status to it, there is no more worthless feeling to a father than the inability to support your own family. For me, I decided to embrace my new pariah status, and started penning my “unemployed dad” cartoons, also in hopes that I could contribute to removing the stigma associated with being an “unemployed dad” by bringing humor to the situation. The recent events are bringing to light the emotional devastation of unemployment and fatherhood and like you, I am very concerned that it maybe catching.

It’s the worst possible reaction to such a situation. The reality if these men could extend in their minds beyond their immediate ego driven hell and realize that first, its not over, they still have a chance to thrive and succeed in the future, and more importantly, the disgusting selfishness associated with ending their childrens lives at the same time. Your children love you no matter what, and they have robbed the world of all the potential those children represented.

From this unemployed dad I extend my sympathies and support to all the unemployed dads and remind them that their first repsonsiblity, ahead of career and financial, is being the best father they can be regardless of circumstance.

LM January 29, 2009, 4:59 PM

He was NOT unemployed. He was employed by Honda as a service manager; the VP of operations confirmed it to CNN.

PowerfulWords January 29, 2009, 6:19 PM

Employed or unemployed doesn’t mattter the point is that he killed his family then himself. The guy might thought he was doing his family a just, he was wrong. If you gonna kill yourself then you do only yourself don’t put your family members into it. If you work hard enough and don’t give up hope then you can make it no matter what when you have family with you. He was selfish and took away his family trust and love when they watched each other die by his hand.

Ron Bennett January 29, 2009, 10:34 PM

Much of his pay / employment was likely based on commissions. So even if he was “working”, his income could have been very low due to poor sales.

On a related note, I wouldn’t trust what the dealership is saying now - they’re likely covering themselves. The neighbor referenced in the story likely has it right - he was unemployed.

Lee January 30, 2009, 2:04 PM

The neighbor said that Meeks had recently lost his job. The employer said that Meeks had gotten his job back. Those two statements are not incompatible. You do, after all, have to lose your job before you can get it back. I don’t agree that the neighbor knows more about Meeks’ employment status than does his employer; I don’t know every detail of my neighbor’s lives, and something like job loss is not really talk that people are eager to spread around the neighborhood. I’m pretty good friends with my neighbor, but when I hear about her job, it’s during the summer, when we’re out chatting over the fence—not in winter when we’re all holed up inside. Besides, what incentive would the employer have to lie? Dates of employment are easily enough checked by looking at time sheets and tax records. Employers don’t drive you to kill your family; people lose their jobs every day and don’t resort to that kind of violence. There’s no way the employer is culpable, so there’s nothing to “cover” by lying about easily verifiable employment status.

mjlohr January 30, 2009, 8:38 PM

Cat: Here’s your basic problem with the story. You are correct in saying he recently got his job back but using a cource like CNN adds little or no credibility. Why is everyone making statements about why. It’s over. The man was disturbed. It happens with men AND women every day.

mary February 10, 2009, 12:27 AM

Why can’t these men just go somewhere and kill themselves. Why do they feel the need to take others with them

Just Me February 11, 2009, 10:53 AM

You are all arguing about “job issues”. Here, where I live, they argue that it was “her fault”. I knew all of them personally. I was extremely close to Jennifer, Jimmy, and Abbi. No matter how many times I see discussions on TV, or view them on a webpage, or read about them in the paper … no one will EVER be able to justify to me what Mark has taken from all of us. No one will EVER be able to give me an excuse that would justify killing your entire family. How could ANYTHING in this world be so bad that it would cause you to shoot your five-year-old child in the head in order to make it better?

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lil d August 10, 2009, 2:48 PM

he should of just killed his selth

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