Authorities in Hubbard, Oregon are suspecting a murder-suicide when five bodies found inside a burned home with gunshot wounds to the head, except for one individual, were identified as the missing Kroeker family.
According to the Statesman Journal, just shortly before 3 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, Hubbard police received a call about a house fire in the 18000 block of Fobert Road Northeast.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they worked diligently to put the fire out, which spread to two other buildings on the property.
As Hubbard firefighters were taming the flames, they discovered a body.
It wasn’t until the fire was extinguished that four other bodies were found inside the burned out home.
A local medical examiner’s office identified the bodies as Keith Kroeker, 42, and his wife 39-year-old Erin, who had gone missing along with their three children – 10-year-old twin sons and a 7-year-old daughter.
It was determined that the father and the three children had died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Erin, on the other hand, had a different cause of death. She reportedly died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Investigators say the fire was intentionally set and they are not looking for a suspect.
BREAKING: 5 bodies consistent with the Kroeker family found dead inside arson home fire in Hubbard. No motive yet but no search for suspect pic.twitter.com/D3rfdHztu7— Nina Mehlhaf (@NinaMehlhaf) January 5, 2017
Although a murder-suicide is suspected, investigators are not revealing the circumstances that led up to the deaths of the Kroeker family.
It was reported that the fire destroyed the home where they had lived for 13 years.
Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers said, “First and foremost, I extend my condolences to the Kroeker family. While this investigation is not yet complete, I would like to thank and recognize the 100-plus first responders, investigators and support personnel from various local, state and federal agencies who continue to work tirelessly during this difficult and complex investigation.”
A neighbor, Michelle Palacios, told reporters that the Kroeker family has lived in the neighborhood for years, adding that they have “been neighborly. We’ve gone to each other’s jewelry parties, we’ve exchanged Christmas cookies.”
“This is just bizarre,” Palacios said of the Kroeker family house fire and death.
The Kroeker children all attended Lincoln Elementary School in Woodburn, and when the school district learned of the suspected murder-suicide, Superintendent Chuck Ransom said, “We were shocked and saddened and since then we’ve been waiting for word to see what the final outcome is and what the extent of damage and potential loss of life is.”
Ransom went on to say that grief counselors were at the school for students and staff after learning about the incident, which left the small community in shock.
He added that he is also “pulling resources from neighboring schools to provide grief counseling and mental health support to anyone in need.”
“As you can imagine, that’s up to 800 people impacted very deeply. So we have a very big support team at the school and we have all week.”
Nearly 40 investigators were at the Kroeker family home, a nearby shop and an attached garage, which all caught fire, and combed through debris to recover evidence.
A sheriff’s office spokesperson, Chris Baldridge, stated, “We aren’t prepared to comment on the evidence we found inside the residence. What I can confirm though is that we do not feel there’s any immediate danger to the public.”
“We have a lot to do. We have five deceased individuals, and we need to figure out what happened here.”
A memorial service was set for the Kroeker family following the Hubbard fire, but according to the Mid Valley Community Church, where the family attended, the service was postponed until further notice.
If you have information regarding the deaths of the Kroeker family, you are urged to contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 503-540-8079.
[Featured Image by Darth Art/iStock]