A young family of four was discovered dead in a Stafford, Virginia subdivision on Thursday morning after police received a phone call from Lance Buckley, 35-years-old, who said that he had killed his wife and two young daughters and he gave police his address, saying that they would find four bodies, including his own, when they arrived, according to AOL News.
When police arrived in the middle-class subdivision, the found all four members of the family deceased on the bottom level of the home, including 30-year-old Amy Buckley, five-year-old Claire Buckley, and 17-month-old Abigail Buckley, along with the body of Lance Buckley. The Stafford Sheriff’s Office has said they believe the incident stemmed from a “domestic incident” but did not elaborate as to what the incident entailed.
Neighbors of the Buckleys expressed shock and grief at the death of the family, who they said had lived in the house for about a year, and that the home belonged to Lance’s father, who lived there as well. Although a murder-suicide is always shocking, this is not the first time that Lance Buckley has made national news. In 2015 he went missing just two weeks after the birth of his youngest daughter. The Howard University doctoral student had been given a ride with a fellow student, but after arriving at the campus was seen on camera withdrawing cash from an ATM, and after that his whereabouts were unknown. His frantic family made public pleas for his safe return, including his wife, Amy, who he would later kill.
“Lance, I love you so much no matter what I just want you to come home. I just want you home, baby. I love you. You’re the love of my life.”
Buckley did not voluntarily come forward at that time, but several tips alerted police that he had bought a tent and was staying in the Brunswick campground near Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, a town known for its rich civil war history and access to multiple hiking trails and river exploration. He was found alive and well in the campground, which is located approximately an hour and a half from his University. To add to the peculiar mystery of his May, 2015, disappearance, Buckley was scheduled to graduate in just eleven days with a doctoral degree, and had gone to the campus to finalize graduation paperwork. Doctoral degrees are rigorous and rare to the general public; less than one percent of the American population holds a doctoral degree. Buckley was scheduled to receive a PhD in Microbiology at the time.
It is unknown if Buckley was employed nor what caused the family to make the decision to move in with Buckley’s parents last year. Recent Facebook photos of Amy Buckley show a seemingly normal family celebrating Halloween, the children appearing well groomed and cared for.
Law enforcement officers in Stafford have declined to say how the family died, only that it appeared to be a murder-suicide. Neighbors said that Amy Buckley did not appear troubled, nor did there appear to be any type of discord in the home after the odd voluntary disappearance of Lance Buckley. Domenic Scarca has known Amy Buckley’s family for years as a neighbor, since the time Amy was a teenage girl.
“I knew the Wetmores since I moved here in 2002 and I didn’t know that this happened. She was… you know… number one a beautiful girl and also seemed to really have it together.”
Teachers at Rock Hill Elementary school were tasked with informing students and parents of kindergartener Claire Buckley’s murder while providing support to students and reassurance that no public safety threat existed from this incident.
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