MIDDLETOWN, Md. (AP) – A father killed his wife and their three children before fatally shooting himself in a northwest Maryland home, leaving a gruesome scene that was discovered Saturday by the youngsters’ grandfather, authorities said.

When investigators arrived, the couple’s two sons, ages 5 and 4, lay dead in their beds, while the bodies of a 2-year-old daughter and the mother, Francis Billotti Wood, were in the master bedroom of the two-story home, Frederick County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said. On the master bedroom floor by the foot of the bed was the father, 34-year-old Christopher Alan Wood, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Bailey said.

The 33-year-old mother and three children suffered “traumatic cuts,” Bailey said, but the causes of their deaths weren’t immediately confirmed.

The woman’s father found them dead around 9 a.m. He had grown concerned after not hearing from them for several days, Bailey said.

Investigators also found a shotgun and other items they believed were used to slash the victims. Several notes were found, but authorities didn’t say what was written in them.

Neighbor Peggy Lawrence said the family had moved several months ago to the home in the town of Middletown, a community of less than 3,000 people about 10 miles west of Frederick. Lawrence described Francis Wood as a good homemaker and said she had grown up in the area.

“It wouldn’t lead you to believe anything was wrong,” Lawrence said. “I’m still sick to my stomach. Just to see it end so quickly is so devastating and makes you realize you never know what’s going on in people’s lives.”


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