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Family of 5 found dead in Maine


SACO, Maine (AP) - A suicidal man having financial problems killed his wife, three children and then himself over the weekend, police said Monday.

Detectives said 33-year-old Joel Smith shot his family inside their apartment about 11:30 p.m. Saturday with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Twelve-year-old Jason Montez and 7-year-old Noah Montez were shot to death in their separate bedrooms. Thirty-five-year-old Heather Smith and 4-year-old Lily Smith were shot in the parents' bed. Joel Smith's body was found on the floor nearby, the gun by his side.

Police said no suicide note was found, but investigators said the wife had told a family friend the night of the shooting that Joel Smith recently had threatened suicide. The friend later contacted an apartment complex worker to express concerns about the family's well-being, leading to the grisly discovery, investigators said.

The family had domestic issues and financial problems, said Sgt. Christopher Harriman, a state police detective.

The family had moved from Arizona because of the sour economy, said Joel Smith's mother, Jerys Caruthers-Thorpe, of Scottsdale, Arizona. Heather Smith also was getting help for substance abuse, Caruthers-Thorpe said.

"I know something had to have snapped because Joel never would have done that in his right mind," she told The Associated Press.

Neighbors described the father as well known in the apartment complex along the Saco River because he worked for a company that provided maintenance services. They said he was friendly and outgoing.

Smith, who was a carpenter and builder, decided to follow his father to Maine in hopes of escaping the tough economy out West, Caruthers-Thorpe said.

Only recently, she said, her son had realized his wife was suffering from addiction, and they'd talked about moving back to Phoenix.

"They were having problems, serious problems," she said. "They were in the process of trying to get some help."

Many people who knew the family described Smith as friendly and outgoing, an assessment shared by his mother. "He was very talented, and artistic, and a perfectionist, and a very devoted family man," she said.

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jvt1984 July 27 2014 at 11:22 PM

Why kill your family? Just pack up and leave. So many innocent lives gone now. They had names, they had futures ahead, they had friends and family. Gone because somebody was so selfish.

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7 replies
STAN July 28 2014 at 6:45 AM

How do you not hear 5 shotgun blasts in an apartment house??????

Flag Reply +43 rate up
4 replies
Welcome King July 27 2014 at 11:44 PM

What does black and white got to do with anything in this article.

Flag Reply +28 rate up
3 replies
dal July 28 2014 at 6:49 AM

Another family dead by the hands of one of the family member, check the medicine cabinet bet you will find the reason.... Side effects include violent and or suicidal thoughts. consult your doctor if you experience sudden mood changes or just kill everyone in the house.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
3 replies
dollibug July 28 2014 at 6:28 AM

Innocent children....how can anyone kill children? There are all sorts of evil and wicked people in the world.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
4 replies
funhv324 July 28 2014 at 3:38 AM

Funny, a long rifle, an apartment complex, a family friend called maint for welfare check, no one heard the gun go off several shots, suicide? Smells like roten fish if you ask me,,,

Flag Reply +19 rate up
6 replies
hbcjesusfreaks July 28 2014 at 2:13 AM

Wow. My hometown. I have done alot of things in that section of Water Street, and I have seen ALOT of things on that section of Water Street. But I have never seen this.
Sickness, on this level, can raise its ugly head ANYWHERE.

Blessings to all the families and loved ones.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
2 replies
Gary Miller hbcjesusfreaks July 28 2014 at 9:59 AM

I live 25 miles away in Lebanon and have never heard of this kind of violence in our neck of the woods...Darn scary

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jmar595870 hbcjesusfreaks July 29 2014 at 1:10 AM

Lived in Saco for years and you just never used to hear about this type crime in Maine. All I hear of is people leaving the state due to the bad economy. Even Maine isn't a safe place anymore.Very sad! I won't be moving back.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
PACRIMCO July 28 2014 at 1:12 AM

How terrible must things be before someone feels it necessary to murder their family members? The culture of the USA is only 238 years old. What the hell has happened to us? Perhaps we all are destined to die a little bit more with each and every victim of senseless gun violence. The gun gave birth to our great Nation and it may end "The American Dream" as well.

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14 replies
troopabn July 27 2014 at 11:59 PM

Probably another case of not keeping Willie wrapped and not being able to afford to put food on the table. Should have had those things de-wired or the wife on the pill. Wait until they cut Foodstamps and section 8 to feed the future Americans our great pres wants coming across from Mwxico!

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4 replies
jackson_shredder July 29 2014 at 2:11 AM

I guess he was a family man. He slaughtered all of them. Left none behind. I'm so saddened for the children who were innocent victims as well as the wife. The dude should have blown his head off and left the family alone. But I guess Cowards don't want to go alone. This is sickening.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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