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A pregnant mother, her toddler son and the boy’s stepfather died in an apparent murder-suicide over the weekend following an argument in their Arkansas apartment, police said.
Paiden Nicole Priest, 23, her 2-year-old son, Grayson Alexander Beckham, and David Wayne Priest, 24, were found by police in the early hours of Sunday morning after Van Buren Police Department officers responded to a 911 call from their neighbors.
Paiden Priest and her son were immediately found shot to death inside the apartment, police said. David Priest was found with gunshot wounds, which police said they believe were self-inflicted; he was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
The young mother was in late-term pregnancy at the time of her death, police confirmed.
"This is one of the worst cases that we've had to ever deal with," Van Buren police Sgt. Jonathan Wear said of the apparent murder-suicide, according to local news outlet 40/29 TV. "We do believe that this was done by David Priest. We do know there was some arguing heard by the neighbor prior to the gunshots being heard.”
Calls and an email sent to Wear by Oxygen.com on Wednesday were not immediately returned.
Bullets had come through the wall the neighbors shared with the family in the Van Buren apartment building, police confirmed; one had lodged in the neighbors’ bed’s headboard while they were sleeping, Wear said at a press conference, 40/29 reported.
Wear also confirmed that detectives recovered a handgun from the scene; the case is being handled as a double murder-suicide, he said. A motive for the killings is unknown.
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