WyBETT
                             Wyomingites for a Better Economy Today and Tomorrow
WyBETT   Wyomingites for a Better Economy Today and Tomorrow
 
 FATHER KILLS SELF, WIFE, THREE CHILDREN OVER GAMBLING DEBTS

 

November 21, 2000 FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- A 42-year-old man killed his pregnant wife and three young children before shooting himself because he apparently was distraught over gambling debts, the police chief said Tuesday. A maid found the family's bodies in their beds in their neat two-story brick home in this Detroit suburb shortly after noon Tuesday. A suicide note left open and pinned down by salt and pepper shakers was found on the kitchen counter, Farmington Hills police Chief William Dwyer said.

In it, the father expressed remorse about gambling debts and "clearly indicated he was sorry he had to take the lives of his wife and children," Dwyer said. Dwyer said the man, who owns an Oak Park printing business, attributed his problems to gambling debts. Interviews with relatives indicate the man's gambling problems started about four years ago with a trip to CasinoWindsor.

"Over the past two years, he's been making weekly trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, gambling large sums of money," Dwyer said. "According to a statement by one of the relatives, he was gambling all over the place." Relatives who showed up at the family's house shortly before 2:30 p.m. wailed when they learned about the murders-suicide. They told police that
the man had asked his business to deposit $85,000 into a bank account with hopes that the money could be transferred to a Las Vegas casino, but the bank wouldn't honor the check, Dwyer said.

The man returned home at 4 a.m. Tuesday from a three-day trip to Las Vegas. The rest of the family was last seen about 8:30 p.m. Monday by the maid when she left the house. When she returned Tuesday, she found the bodies of the father and his 31-year-old wife, who was 12 weeks pregnant, in bed in the master bedroom. Both appeared to have died from gun shot wounds from a hand gun found in the man's hands, Dwyer said.

The children, a 7-year-old girl, 6-year-old boy, and a 2-year-old girl who would have turned 3 on Wednesday, were found in separate bedrooms. They appeared to have been suffocated, the chief said. Dwyer said the suicide note suggested the father felt the family couldn't have lived without him if he just took his own life.

"It's a tragedy directly related to casino gambling," Dwyer said.

Brenda Williams, who has lived in the house next door for 14 years, described the parents as "so devoted to their children." She said the man wanted as many children as they could have and described the wife as "very pretty and thrilled about being pregnant again."

In recent weeks, the father had told Williams' husband that his business had been struggling, but said there was never any mention of gambling. Dwyer said the company has amassed $500,000 in debts. Williams said the family was generous. When they first moved in five or six years ago, the man noticed leaves from trees in his yard were falling in their yard. As a goodwill gesture, he sent the Williams a floral arrangement. One year, they gave the Williams' daughter, who baby-sat for the family, a $100 gift certificate for Christmas.

"They're just the type of neighbors anybody would want to have," she said. The victims' names were not released pending notification of family, Dwyer said.