A children’s book author was found shot to death in Massachusetts along with his wife and three children in a tragedy that has shocked the community.
Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz identified the dead as 43-year-old Joseph Zaccardi, his wife Deirdre, 40; and the couple’s three children, Alexis, 11 and twins Nathaniel and Kathryn, 9.
The bodies were discovered Monday morning around 7:30 a.m. when a relative came to take the children to school and discovered Deirdre's body downstairs, according to The Boston Globe.
All of the family members appeared to have died from gunshot wounds in what authorities are calling an isolated incident, though they declined to say whether the deaths were the result of a murder suicide.
“This is a horrible, horrible event,” Cruz said. “I think when something like this, unimaginable like this happens, there’s always going to be more questions than there are going to be answers.”
Cruz said the couple had no known domestic issues.
“It’s a tragedy all the way around,” Abington Police Chief David G. Majenski said. “It’s just a horrific event that nobody should ever see.”
The family’s next door neighbor Heather McNulty told local station WCVB that she had heard four loud banging noises around 1 a.m. on Monday. At the time, she believed the noises were her dumpster door banging in the wind. She didn’t discover the truth until the next morning.
“Whatever it was, I don’t know why the children had to—why that had to happen to them. It’s just so sad,” she said.
Before his death, Joseph Zaccardi had been a struggling children’s book author who had listed his occupation on Facebook as “unemployed and going crazy,” People reports.
In April 2017, the father of three proudly announced in a post on social media that his third book “All Mixed Up” was available for purchase on Amazon.
“Purchasing a copy will obviously help to promote the book, but simply spreading the word about its release would be extremely helpful too!,” he wrote. “Again, thank you for everybody's support and encouragement with each book I do! Without the support of family and friends, an individuals hopes or dreams can only go so far.”
His wife Deirdre had worked for nearly two decades at EMI Strategic Marketing. As news of the family’s deaths spread, the company released a statement calling Deirdre a “lovely person” and “trusted employee.”
“Her welcoming smile, constant enthusiasm, sense of humor and talent for organizing just about anything made her indispensable to the company,” it said. “Her deep commitment to her children, and the pride she took in their accomplishments, small and large, were part of many conversations.”
Deidre had reportedly taken a day off work last week to celebrate her twins’ birthday.
“We are all shocked and saddened by this tragedy,” company president Campbell Edlund said in the statement.
The Abington Superintendent of Schools Peter Schafer also addressed the family’s deaths calling them “unimaginable.”
“As you may be aware, discussion took place today with middle and the high school students about the tragic loss of the Zaccardi family,” Schafer wrote in the letter to parents before adding that counselors would be on hand to help staff and students process the loss.
The family of the victims has asked for privacy in the wake of the deaths.
“Today our family has suffered an unfathomable loss,” they said in a statement, according to WCVB. “As we attempt to make sense of the enormity of this event, we respectfully ask that the media respect our family’s wishes to be left alone as we grieve our tremendous losses in private.”
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