A Berks County mother and her three children killed by the children's father in a murder-suicide earlier this month are being memorialized in the form of thousands of dollars in donations pouring into the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation.
Megan Swingle Short, 33, and her three children, 8-year-old Liana, 5-year-old Mark Jr. and 2-year-old Willow, died Aug. 6 in their Sinking Spring home when police say Short's husband and the children's father, 40-year-old Mark Short, shot all four of them to death before turning the gun on himself. Authorities said Mark Short left a handwritten note, but have not detailed what the note said, except to say that in it, he admitted to killing his wife and children.
The Short family spent much of Willow's life at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after the little girl was born with a severe congenital heart defect that required her to undergo a heart transplant when she was just six days old. In memory of Megan Short, Willow and the children, more than $3,000 in donations poured in for the CHOP Cardiac Center on a donation page titled, "Remembering the Short Family."
"The Philly Heart Community will always remember and cherish the Short family. Taken from us all far too soon, Megan, Liana, Mark Jr. & Willow's spirit will live on in the hearts of those they touched so deeply," the page reads. "Megan gave selflessly to the heart and transplant communities to support all who walked similar journeys. The family would want donations to go to the Cardiac Center, so that other families can continue to receive the love, support and hope that the Short family received."
The page includes a quote from Megan Short: "Anytime I am given the choice between love and fear, I will choose love. To me, the greater risk is never experiencing love at all."
Authorities and relatives have said that there were domestic issues between Mark and Megan Short, and she planned to move out with the children to an apartment in Yardley, Bucks County on the day of their deaths. Officials said officers responded to the Shorts' home on Winding Brook Drive July 18 after Megan Short called them following a fight with her husband. She told officers that day that she feared he would harm her, and they advised her to file for a protection-from-abuse order. Berks County authorities, though, say she did not file for one.
A day later, authorities said, Mark Short traveled to Lancaster County and purchased the .38-caliber revolver he used to kill Megan, the children, the family dog and himself.
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If you are experiencing domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.