Community grieving after family found dead in apparent murder-suicide at Elyria home

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ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — An entire community is grieving, after a family of five, including three children, were found dead inside a home in Elyria.  Police have not released much information, but the FOX 8 I-TEAM has learned detectives are investigating the case as a murder-suicide.

“It’s heartbreaking, very, very heartbreaking,” said next door neighbor Renetta Hubbard.

People who live on Willow Park Road woke up to a tragic scene just after 8 o’clock Wednesday morning. 

Elyria police discovered the bodies of a man, woman and three children inside the home, after someone called, asking officers to check on them.

“One of his friends that he work with came by. He flagged me down. He said ‘Have you heard anything over here?’ Talking about their house…I said ‘no’…he said ‘I saw five shell casings at the front door,'” Hubbard explained.

Hubbard recalls hearing gunshots around 5:30 p.m. and again at 8:30 the previous evening, but she was not sure where they were coming from.

“He said ‘something’s wrong and I’m calling the cops.’ Ten minutes later our neighborhood is swarming with cops,” she shared.

“They went to school together, and so it was sad. She was pretty upset about it because they were friends on TikTok of course,” said neighbor Josalyn Woolfork.

Woolfork says her children sometimes played with the family’s children, whose ages she says ranged from 6 to 12 years old.

“They look like they had been arguing for the past two weeks, just walking by. You can tell when someone’s arguing, and she left the house one day, yelling and then she just left in her car and I didn’t see her come back,” she said.

“As the father of three children, it’s just hard to even imagine the pain, the loss…I was at a loss for words,” said Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield.

Mayor Whitfield and a local pastor stopped by the neighborhood to pay their respects, pray and mourn.

“I believe that the spirit of God is praying with all who grieve right now,” said Reverend Nathan Russell, senior pastor of Washington Avenue Christian Church.

“Three children lost their future, and a community is going to be mourning because of this,” the mayor said.

Neighbors say the family appeared to be a typical family and they never could have imagined something like this.

“Just put a roof on this house two week ago, he’s always building something. He and his buddies put the roof on. He put a fence up, swimming pool, everyday guy, go to work,” said Hubbard.

Hubbard says the man in the house lived in the home for a total of 28 years — first with his dad, and after he died, the man and his family moved in about 15 years ago.

Mayor Whitfield posted mental health resources on the city’s website for anyone struggling with issues related to this or challenges in general, such as depression or domestic violence.

He says police are still trying to figure out what led to this tragedy.

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