Megan and Mark Short had spoken publicly about the heartache and stress they went through for their infant daughter’s heart transplant and the medical battles that followed, and now both the couple and their three children are dead after what officials in Pennsylvania say was an apparent murder-suicide.
The bodies of the Short family members were found on Saturday in their home in the small town of Sinking Spring, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia. The Berks County District Attorney’s office said all five victims died of gunshot wounds and that a suicide note was found near the bodies, but they did not say whether Mark Short or his wife Megan pulled the trigger. The family’s dog was also found dead.
Update: Parents, 3 children dead with gunshot wounds in murder-suicide in Sinking Spring, Pa. - Reading Eagle pic.twitter.com/1uKhCLmwOo— G.Alexander(BRKNEWS) (@MajorNews911) August 7, 2016
The Short family had gained national fame last year after their medical struggles were highlighted in the New York Times. The story noted how Willow Short, then just one year old, needed a specialized medicine to keep her body from rejecting the transplanted heart. But the family couldn’t count on exactly when the medication would show up, leading to heightened stress.
Because of stringent rules from her drug plan and the pharmacy she is required to use, Ms. Short cannot order a refill until her monthly supply is three-quarters gone. Yet processing a refill takes about seven days, making it touch and go whether the new shipment will arrive before the old one runs out.
“You just feel like every month, you’re hoping that they don’t mess it up,” said Ms. Short, who lives in this town about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Megan Short told the newspaper how the situation left the family under heavy stress. In one instance, she explained, CVS Health accidentally sent them a supply for 14 days, not the 30 days they had ordered. The pharmacy mailed the rest of the medication overnight, but Short told the New York Times that it left her “rattled.”
“Every single month it seems like it’s something,” she said.
The problems continued into this year. In April, Megan Short wrote a blog post describing the “overwhelming anxiety” she felt in caring for the very fragile Willow, and how the feelings of stress still stuck with her.
I have anxiety and nightmares. Certain smells and hallways trigger memories every single time. Yet sometimes the memories return out of nowhere like a beeping sound from someone’s phone reminding you of the monitor alarms. None of this ever got easier. It took me nearly two years to recognize how much I was truly impacted by the experiences.
Megan Short went on to explain that she even felt survivor’s guilt when other children with problems like the one Willow faced would die.
Authorities said they learned about the murder-suicide that claimed the lives of the Short family after Megan failed to show up for a lunch with family members, Fox 29 Philadelphia reported. Police arrived at the home to find the bodies of 40-year-old Mark Short, 33-year-old Megan Short, and their three children, 8-year-old Lianna, 5-year-old Mark Jr., and 2-year-old Willow.
The prosecutor says an apparent “murder/suicide” note was found in the home, along with a gun near one of the adults https://t.co/mlhaUIfHpq— New York Post (@nypost) August 7, 2016
Neighbors said it was baffling how such an enormous tragedy could find the family.
“It’s just unbelievable. I’m still in shock. I couldn’t sleep half the night because I was so upset,” Jay Pezdirc of Spring Township told ABC 6 in Philadelphia.
Authorities in Pennsylvania are still investigating the murder-suicide that claimed the life of both Mark and Megan Short and their three children, including just when it may have taken place and which person had killed the others. They have also yet to release any details of the suicide note reportedly found at the scene.
[Image via Facebook/Megan Short]