An Unusual Murder-Suicide

Here’s a sad one from Dawsonville, at the extreme northern end of Atlanta’s exurbs. A divorced father of a disabled son came to pick him up at his mom’s and found both mother and son dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Son murdered, mother suicided, that is:

The boy’s father came to pick him up for regular visitation but when he got there, no one came to the door. And that wasn’t typical.

The sheriff described how the father said those routine visits normally started.

“When he comes to visit, the kid comes to the door and is excited to see him,” Sheriff Tony Wooten said.

So the kid wasn’t so disabled he couldn’t move or speak; but the article doesn’t give a lot of other details about the specifics of his disability. The sheriff continues:

“Basically, his health issues had gotten worse and she didn’t want to be living without him,” Wooten said.

So, we can infer from this that the kid was heading downhill. Usually, in this kind of story, which isn’t common, it’s the parent being unable to take care of the kid instead of the kid’s health getting worse. The standard version of this story would be a parent feeling themselves age, while their adult child is physically mostly okay but mentally a huge pain to manage; or, it could be a parent who simply couldn’t cope with being a caregiver any more. Not everyone can be a caregiver, and some when having it thrust upon them can’t deal with it, especially given our society’s dearth of resources for helping them.

It isn’t, as it stands, all that great a story for crime fiction. It’s tragic, and some hay could be made from the story’s not being in line with the usual versions, but it would be hard to pull off more than a character study. Since I’m dark, and spend my days thinking about murder, I’d want to add another layer to the story. There’s money involved, of course.

What if there were family money from a grandparent, who had set up a trust for the disabled son? The trust would revert to the parents if the son were to pass away. Make it the mother’s parents, so that it passed to her should the son die. Now you’ve got motive to stage a murder-suicide, come back around to the front of the house and “discover” the bodies. Detective confronts oddness of story, decides not to be suspicious just because the story doesn’t fit the usual pattern. Besides, why would the guy kill his own son, even if the son were disabled?

Only much later does the detective find out the wife was pregnant when she met the husband. Grim.


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