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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?

gun

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
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