Dad kills son, 4, himself in murder-suicide, cops say. Family says the system ‘failed’ him
A family is grieving after a 4-year-old boy was found dead with his father inside a Fort Lauderdale condo on the same day his mother asked a judge for an emergency pickup order.
On Monday afternoon, Fort Lauderdale police said the incident “appeared to be a domestic related murder-suicide.”
Police identified the father as 47-year-old John Stacey. Authorities did not release the boy’s name, citing Marsy’s Law, which is meant to protect victims of crime.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” police said in Monday’s news release. “We understand the mother and family of the child victim are feeling an immense amount of grief at this time. We want to ensure them, and our community, we will be conducting a full investigation into this incident”
The boy was identified in a GoFundMe page as Greyson Martin Kessler — nicknamed “Gigs” — because he was always smiling and laughing. The page was set up to help Greyson’s mother Alison Kessler with funeral costs.
“Greyson was sunshine in a tiny human body,” said Sydney McLane, who identified herself as Kessler’s niece . “He exuded joy and loved everyone he met without hesitation.”
Court records show the boy’s mother, Alison Kessler, on Friday filed for an emergency child pickup order to get Greyson away from his father.
Fort Lauderdale police said it appeared that Stacey shot his 4-year-old and then turned the gun on himself in his apartment in a gated condo complex at 520 SE Fifth Ave on Thursday. Police did not say anything about the order.
Kessler’s attorney, Meaghan Marro, told the Sun Sentinel on Saturday that Stacey had sent her client concerning text messages and that the courts didn’t intervene.
“It just absolutely breaks my heart because our system can do better,” Marro told the paper. Someone who answered the phone at Marro’s office Monday, said the attorney would not longer comment on the incident.
In the GoFundMe page, McLane, the organizer said “the police, child protective services, and the criminal justice system failed Greyson and Ali, who filed multiple emergency orders to get Greyson safely away from the father, who had been sending threatening text messages and emails to Ali, and exhibited frightening behavior.”
“If the domestic violence injunction filed by Alison had been approved by the judge, our Greyson would be here with us today,” she said.
In a statement to Miami Herald news partner CB4, Greyson’s family said “that the system failed us at every level.”
“There were many red flags exhibited by John Stacey that were never acted upon, even though Alison reported his bizarre and threatening behavior and went through all the proper channels,” the family said. “This tragedy could have been prevented if proper action had been taken to help Alison and Greyson.”