A Pennsylvania murder-suicide is the reason for a family of five being discovered dead inside their Sinking Spring home on Saturday. Authorities are calling it a “tragic domestic incident.” It’s unclear if Megan or Mark Short was the one who shot the family and their dog.
According to WGN-TV, each person died from gunshot wounds, and a handgun was found near one of the adults. A suicide note was left behind.
The Berks County District Attorney said that a family member called the Sinking Spring Borough Police on Saturday when Megan missed a lunch date. Responding officers found the bodies of Mark, 40, and Megan, 33, in the living room with 8-year-old Liana, 5-year-old Mark Jr., and 2-year-old Willow.
Officers state that “domestic issues” between Mark and Megan Short existed before the murder-suicide.
Willow, the youngest child, was in the news after receiving a heart transplant following her birth. In May 2014, Willow was suffering a congenital heart defect and received a heart transplant at six-days-old. What soon followed were specialty drug doses administered on a daily basis in an effort to prevent her body from rejecting the new heart. The family’s story was documented in local and national news coverage.
One aspect of the challenges facing the Pennsylvania family was finding pharmacies that could fill Willow’s specialty drugs. Megan Short was known to express her challenges in a series of blog posts for a family support group dealing specifically with congenital heart defects. Megan wrote that the experience was akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. She was overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility it would take to keep her daughter healthy without the assistance of doctors and nurses by her side.
Family of five dead after apparent murder-suicide in PA https://t.co/Ez8tt9oOEB pic.twitter.com/Nik81tLioD
— WAFF 48 (@waff48) August 8, 2016
Police investigating the murder-suicide case released a statement.
“This is an apparent tragic domestic incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families at this difficult time,” the statement read.
Philly.com took some pieces of various reports that offer some background on the Pennsylvania murder-suicide. It cites The Reading Eagle as claiming neighbors knew the couple was having marital problems, and Megan Short allegedly planned to leave her husband and move to Yardley.
A Washington Post opinion article named Angie Burks as a neighbor who was exchanging Facebook posts on July 15 with Megan about emotional abuse in the marriage.
“Burke’s Facebook account shows that Megan Short commented, ‘It really does a number on your mental health for sure,’ ” the Post reported
“Short commented later, ‘This is why I am leaving my marriage Angie. 16 years.'”
Back in December, a different picture of the family was conveyed when Mark Short uploaded a family photo onto his Facebook page with the caption: “She’s still the most beautiful girl that I’ve ever met,” he wrote. “I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have her as my wife and the mother of my three amazing children.”
— New York Post (@nypost) August 8, 2016
Megan Short described severe anxiety and nightmares following the ordeals she endured while helping her toddler daughter recover from the heart transplant. She shared that certain smells or sounds would trigger her anxiety. She did reveal a sense of relief by writing in her blog on the family support group.
“I don’t think PTSD ever truly goes away but, with therapy, medication, and the right support, I have begun to loosen its grip on me,” she wrote. “As I work on my own mental healing, I wanted to share my experience so that other heart parents know they are not alone.”
There are still several details surrounding the Pennsylvania murder-suicide to come.
[Photo via Shutterstock]