NBC10 - Doug Shimell
Francis Adolf, Bonnie Lynn Adolf and their 6-year old son were found dead in their Pitman, NJ home. Investigators say Francis wrote notes and emails saying that he intended to hurt himself and his family. NBC10's Doug Shimell reports.
A South Jersey father strangled his son, killed his wife and then hanged himself, according to the medical examiner.
An autopsy report released on Wednesday revealed details about how the father, his wife and 6-year-old son died.
Police officers found Francis Adolf, 49, along with his wife, Bonnie Lynn Adolf, 44 and their son, Frank Adolf, Jr., dead inside the family's Kenton Avenue home in Pitman, Gloucester County, N.J. Tuesday morning.
According to the autopsy report, Adolf Jr. died from strangulation and blunt force injury to the head. His death was ruled a homicide. Bonnie Adolf died from blunt force injury to the head. Her death was also ruled a homicide. Adolf Sr. died from hanging. His death was ruled a suicide.
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said that investigators found writings inside the home that indicated that Adolf wanted to hurt his family but the prosecutor didn't elaborate on the nature of those writings.
Officials got a phone call and came to the home Tuesday morning to check on the well-being of the Adolfs. When they arrived, they found the bodies. Handwritten notes and emails describing Adolf's intentions led investigators to consider the incident a murder-suicide.
Pitman Mayor, Russ Johnson III lives in the neighborhood and said people are surprised and upset.
"Shocked. Sad. This is my neighborhood. This is my town," said Johnson. "Just very sad for the family."
Frank Jr. was just shy of his seventh birthday.
Neighbors told NBC 10 Philadelphia's Doug Shimell that the son was about to enter the second grade at Memorial Elementary School in Pitman.
Mayor Johnson said his son and Frank Jr. were classmates.
"I don't know how you explain to a 7-year-old what could possibly happen," Johnson said. "You've got to do your best as parents but I don't know how I can possibly explain it to my kid -- to any of those kids in that school."
The school sent a statement out to parents, saying that "Frankie" Jr. died in a tragic incident.
"Everyone here in the district -- especially those within the Memorial School community -- is heartbroken about the loss of Frankie. We extend our sympathy to all of Frankie's family and friends, and to the wider community of Pitman, on this very sad day."
Dalton said there was no reported domestic violence history involving the Adolfs.
Meanwhile, neighbors are wondering if there were warning signs that they missed.
"It's such a shame that something wasn't seen or detected before it got to this," said Jeanne Ewe.
Pitman is a town of about 9,000 residents located in Gloucester County, about 15 miles south of Center City Philadelphia.