Megan Short was planning to leave her husband on Saturday, but in a tragic explosion of violence, the 33-year-old was shot to death along with her three children in what police say was a tragic murder-suicide.
In the days after the death of the Short family, details have emerged as to what likely led Mark Short to kill his entire family in a fit of rage. Family and friends painted the picture of a troubled marriage with stress compounded by the serious medical condition facing their 2-year-old daughter, Willow.
Police discovered the bodies of the Short family in their Pennsylvania home on Saturday, all dead of gunshot wounds. Killed along with Megan Short were the family’s three children, 2-year-old Willow, 5-year-old Mark Jr., and 8-year-old Lianna. Mark Short, Megan’s estranged husband, was found dead nearby.
Family members are now saying that the murder-suicide likely came from Megan Short’s plans to leave her husband. NBC Philadelphia reported that Mark was despondent about his wife’s decision.
“He was a family, family guy. He was all family. He worked himself to death to try and keep his family together,” said James Short, Mark Short’s cousin. “It was just work, work, work, and family. That was it.”
Mark had reportedly been making efforts to keep the family together, including a trip to Disney World in February that he hoped would improve the couple’s relationship, NBC Philadelphia reported. But that didn’t change Megan’s plans, the report noted.
The family had been under tremendous stress in the past two years. Their daughter, Willow, was born with a heart defect that made it necessary for her to have a heart transplant when she was just a few days old. She then required specialty medication to keep from rejecting the new heart.
The situation had been very stressful for Megan Short, who wrote a blog post in April talking about the “overwhelming anxiety” she felt while caring for Willow.
“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.”
A friend of Megan Short told Heavy.com that the 33-year-old had started a relationship with a woman who had been through a similar trauma, even sharing Facebook conversations where Megan described the failed marriage.
“She said that Megan told her she had been in a relationship with another woman she met through transplant circles and added, “He was very upset she left him for another woman.” The Shorts were trying to repair their marriage, said the friend, whose son was also an infant heart transplant recipient and bonded with Megan over it. She said that PTSD is a known phenomenon in transplant circles and that people should not discount the crumbling relationship as a possible motive.”
Megan Short’s plans were not private. She reportedly posted a message on Facebook asking for help moving out just hours before she was killed.
Police have still not announced many details about the Short family murder-suicide, including which person pulled the trigger. They did say that a murder-suicide note was found nearby but have not released the contents of the note.
But family members seemed to confirm that Mark was the shooter, asking people not to judge him by the violent final act of his life.
“Don’t think any less of him, because he’s a really, really good guy. He would do anything for anybody,” James Short said. “You don’t know the situation, so don’t try to judge.”
Funeral arrangements for Megan Short and her three children will be held this week, NBC Philadelphia reported. Mark Short will be buried separately.
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