A husband and wife and their two young children were found dead in their home in Irmo, South Carolina on Wednesday after what homicide investigators have called and apparent murder-suicide.
Police believe 28-year-old Kia Miller along with their 3-year-old son Kyler and daughter Syrai, who was barely a year old were executed with shots to the upper body by family patriarch and devout Jehovah's Witnesses Sheddrick Byron Miller before he turned the gun on himself.
The hellish scene was uncovered after the man’s mother, who had not heard from her son in several days, went to their home in the Riverwalk neighborhood around 10 a.m. to investigate. There she discovered the bodies and called police.
A spokesman for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department told the Charlotte Observer that the initial investigation points to a domestic disturbance prior to the killings.
One woman who knew the family told the Associated Press that there was no indication anything was amiss and expressed shock at the tragedy.
Authorities say a handgun, the presumed murder weapon was found in the master bedroom near Shedrick Miller’s body. His wife, also in the room. The two children were shot dead in their respective bedrooms. Police are still trying to determine the exact time of the murder.
South Carolina’s homicide rate of women killed by men is the worst in the country, according to a report by the Violence Policy Center in Washington.