Five family members, all female, were found dead on Christmas Day in their Arkansas home — and police are now confirming the heinous tragedy is the result of a murder-suicide.
Patricia Patrick, 61, and Jaquita Chase, 31, along with minor kids Danielle Collins, 7, Levenah Countryman, 10, and Abigail Heflin, 12, were all discovered Christmas afternoon by a visiting relative to the house, which is located about 50 miles north of Little Rock, according to the Pope County Sheriff's office.
Investigations into the evidence at the scene led police to pronounce the deaths a murder-suicide event. All five of the deceased are all believed to be related, although officials didn't clarify exactly how they were connected. Additionally, all five victims were shot, but police haven't identified who the shooter is.
Officials said they believe that this was an isolated incident, and that the local public is not in any danger.
“While all loss of life is heartbreaking, this situation has been particularly tragic” Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said in a statement. “Anytime children are senselessly taken from those who love them, the pain is beyond compare. When you add to that the loss of the adults involved, the pain is unfathomable. There are so many family members and friends who are hurting, dismayed and in shock over the events of this past Christmas Day. We need to keep them in our prayers, as they will need many in the days ahead, and continue to reach out to them to offer any assistance possible.”
A GoFundMe was started for the surviving family members, but also did not make entirely clear the exact family connections between the five victims. It stated, "5 of our precious relatives were found deceased in their home," and described the deceased as "a grandmother, mother, and 3 children, all taken from us."
The fund did state that one of the children "does have a paternal family" and noted that her father's side might start a fund of their own specifically for that child's surviving family members.
Regardless, "We need the community to pray for peace, guidance, wisdom, truth, and justice," the fund's author pleaded.