COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WZTV) — Investigators are trying to figure out what lead up to an apparent murder-suicide involving a Columbia mother and four young children – and the community is trying to grasp such a tragedy.
The Maury County Sheriff confirms a family member came to the home along Carters Creek Pike Monday night and found the five bodies. Officials say an adult female, three girls and one boy died in the incident. The dead children ranged in age from 8 to 16 years old. Police do not believe the father had been home at the time.
Police say this is one of the most tragic scenes they've ever witnessed.
“I'd ask the rest of the community to lift this family up in prayer and remember those and be respectful of the family as well,” Sheriff Bucky Rowland said. “They're going to have to learn how to live life without their loved ones.”
As the sun came up Tuesday morning, the community is trying to grasp this tragedy.
Resident Roy Barberi calls the murder-suicide unimaginable.
“You wonder how dark of a place someone has to be in or something like that to be possible,” Barberi said. “We all live to protect our kids and this is unfortunate. It was the opposite of that.”
Neighbors describe the family as so private that they didn't even know children lived there. Columbia, Tennessee is about 50 minutes south of Nashville and has a population of about 37,500.
“It’s a place that’s full of community and people are very connected here, obviously not connected enough with this family but it’s just shocking that something like this can happen in our little town,” Barberi said.
“Really sad for the family and all the unanswered questions they’re going to have that will never be answered,” Barberi said. “Just pray that those folks will have a way to cope with that because I don’t know how I would.”