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Police Call Saco Murder-Suicide ‘One of the Worst Cases of Domestic Violence in Maine’s History’

State Police say the deaths of a Saco family late Saturday night was a quadruple murder-suicide and one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine’s history. 

According to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland, that conclusion comes after the State Medical Examiner’s Office examined the bodies today (July 25)  in Augusta.  The victims are 35 year old Heather Smith, and the couple’s three children –Jason Montez, 12,  Noah Montez, 7, and four-year-old Lily Smith.  McCausland said detectives said 33-year-old Joel Smith shot his family about 11:30 Saturday night with a 12 gauge shotgun and then turned the gun on himself.  The two boys were shot to death in their separate bedrooms, and the wife and daughter were shot in the bed in the parent’s bedroom.  Joel Smith’s body was found on the floor next to them, with the gun by his side. There was not suicide note found.  Police have also not found any protection from abuse orders or court paperwork on the couple, since they moved to Maine, McCausland said.

According to McCausland, the wife had told a family friend the night of the shooting that Joel Smith had threatened suicide earlier in the week by pointing a gun at his head.  There is no indication that any assistance was sought after that incident.  Several neighbors told police they heard loud noises late Saturday night, but no one called police, said McCausland. The family friend became concerned Sunday morning and called a maintenance worker at the apartment complex to check on the family and that is when the deaths were discovered.

The family moved to Maine from Arizona a couple of years ago and Joel Smith worked at the apartment complex doing maintenance.  Mrs. Smith worked as a medical assistant.

This is the sixth time since 1941 that four people have been killed in a multiple homicide in Maine.  The most recent case, where four people were killed, was at a Newry bed and breakfast in September of 2006.

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