A mother, father and the couple's 6-year-old son died today in what investigators are calling a murder-suicide inside a South Jersey home.
Officials got a phone call and came to the home on Kenton Avenue in Pitman, N.J., Tuesday morning to check on the well-being of the family living there. When they arrived, they found the bodies of Francis Adolf, 49, his wife, Bonnie Lynn Adolf, 44 and their son, Frank Adolf, Jr., who was just shy of his 7th birthday.
Pitman Mayor, Russ Johnson III lives in the neighborhood and said people are surprised and upset.
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"Shocked. Sad. This is my neighborhood. This is my town," said Johnson. "Just very sad for the family."
Weisenfeld said investigators determined it was a murder-suicide based on both handwritten and email messages written by the father. According to detectives, Francis Adolf indicated in the messages that he would harm himself, his wife and son.
Neighbors told NBC 10 Philadelphia's Doug Shimell that the son was about to enter the 2nd grade at Memorial Elementary School in Pitman.
Mayor Johnson said his son and the 6-year-old victim were classmates.
"I don't know how you explain to a 7-year-old what could possibly happen. 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," Johnson said.
The school sent a statement out to parents, saying that Frankie Jr. died in a tragic incident.
"Everyone here in the distrct -- 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, a nd to the wider community of Pitman, on this very sad day."
Investigators will talk about how the three died after their autopsies are done tomorrow. 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.