A North Carolina man fatally shot his wife, three young children and the family dog before killing himself in their home.
At a press conference Monday, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said officers were called to the family’s Vanceboro home around noon Friday after a family member requested a welfare check.
Hughes said deputies found all doors locked and no forced entry but were able to see a body through a partially opened curtain.
Michael Ireland, 39, was found dead in the master bedroom with a single gunshot wound to the head. A revolver was found next to his body.
In the same room, investigators found the family dog, a pit bull, who had also been fatally shot.
The bodies of April Ireland, 26, and the couple’s eight-month-old daughter Carolyn were found together on a couch in the living room. Police found the couple’s two sons, Michael, 4, and Bryson, 3, on another couch in the living room.
All four died from single gunshot wounds.
“There were no signs of struggle in the residence associated with these deaths,” Hughes said.
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Autopsies were conducted Sunday. Final results are pending further testing.
Hughes said the deaths occurred sometime between Wednesday evening and Friday morning.
“It is a very sad time,” Hughes said. “To my knowledge, Craven County has never experienced such a senseless loss of innocent lives in modern times. Officers with over 40 years of experience have described this as one of the most horrific crime scenes in their careers.”
Last August, April Ireland set up a GoFundMe page asking for help paying bills and expenses while Michael was in the Intensive Care Unit on life support following an apparent suicide attempt.
“My husband Michael Ireland suffered severely from depression among other mental illnesses and was recently injured very badly,” she wrote. “While it was self Inflicted he is very sick mentally.”
April wrote that her husband “was the only source of income for our home.”
The site raised $130 of a $10,000 goal.