A Utah woman convinced her husband it was a “good time to leave” because she was dying, leading him to stage a murder-suicide that left the family of four and their dog dead in November, according to police.
Jessica Griffith, 43, and Timothy Griffith, 45, along with their two children, Samantha Badel, 16, and Alexandre Griffith, 5, and pet German shepherd were found dead in their Mapleton home just months after moving to Utah from Switzerland.
“Once inside officers found four individuals that were deceased from what appears to [have been] gunshot wounds,” Mapleton Police Chief John Jackson said. “Also found deceased with a gunshot wound was a large dog.”
Timothy was found in an upstairs bedroom "with a shotgun between his legs.” Jessica and the couple’s biological son were hidden under a blanket on the bed with their heads covered by pillows.
"It appeared that several shots were fired through the pillow," the report reads.
Their step-daughter Samantha was discovered in her basement bedroom under blankets as well.
A six-month investigation ensued and Mapleton police released a 55-page report about the incident on Wednesday.
Jessica told her husband she had terminal cancer, sent him links to ovarian cancer websites, and texted him about the extensive pain she was in.
"I have found multiple text messages from Jessica to Timothy about not feeling well and having headaches. Timothy suggested that Jessica go to a doctor. In Jessica's replies she seems adamant about not going to see any more doctors," an investigator said in the report.
An autopsy later revealed she was healthy and had no signs of cancer, The Daily Herald reports.
Why Jessica pretended she was dying remains a mystery.
“We wish we knew the answer to that,” said Thursday.
"It was found that this incident was planned by the 45-year-old male and his wife," the police report reads.
The Salt Lake Tribune writes that the parents told the children they were celebrating Christmas a month early. They wanted the children to “leave in peace and joy.”
Police suspect Jessica and Timothy put sleeping pills in the children’s hot chocolate, which Jessica also drank, before Timothy shot them, the dog, and finally himself.
Before carrying out their gruesome plan, Timothy and Jessica sent emails to family members, The Salt Lake Tribune writes.
One of the emails Jessica sent was to her estranged mother. She described a dream she had in what appears to be an attempt to put the blame on her husband, Desert News reports.
"I see myself holding my son's hand at the foot of my bed … and I see our two bodies full of blood … I look down and see my dog, a beautiful German Shepherd, who is dead near me. I turn around and squeeze my son's hand a little harder and I see my husband, who is crying with his rifle in his hands, who asks for forgiveness. … And I understand that he has killed us all so that we can stay with him," the report states.
Jessica didn’t want it to be known she was involved and deleted the text messages she sent to her husband about the plan.
"Jessica then attempts to hide her involvement by deleting text messages and emailing her family saying she feels she and the kids are in danger and Timothy is acting weird,” the report states.
If the couple were still alive they would easily be found guilty of murder, police concluded.
"I believe that sufficient evidence was collected that if Timothy and Jessica were still alive they would be successfully prosecuted for the crime of aggravated murder," Mapleton police said.