Utah parents killed themselves, kids after mom falsely believed she had cancer


The parents of the Utah family of four found dead in a murder-suicide in November planned violence in advance because the mother falsely believed she was terminally ill, according to a newly released police report obtained by PEOPLE.

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Text messages in both French and English uncovered by police reveal that 43-year-old Jessica Griffith believed she was suffering from ovarian cancer and sent her husband, Timothy Griffith, 45, messages about picking a date that would be a “good time to leave,” the 55-page document states.

However, an autopsy shows Jessica was never sick. Still, having become convinced she was going to die, she began texting and emailing her husband ideas about how best to end their lives and those of their children: Samantha Badel, 16, and Alexandre Griffith, 5.

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“My head and stomach really hurt now. We will never be separated and love for eternity,” Jessica texted her husband on Oct. 25, nearly two weeks before the family was found dead.

In a series of texts, Jessica and her husband discuss whether they should carry out their plan the day after Thanksgiving or on Christmas Day. Jessica even convinces her husband to let the family celebrate Christmas early to help the children “leave in peace and joy.”

As his wife did research on the illness she thought she had, Timothy began researching mass shootings, guns and sleeping pills online, the document states. His searches began as early as July, the report states — right after the family moved from Switzerland to Mapleton, Utah, according to a previous statement released by police.

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The family was found dead in their home on November 9 after a concerned neighbor called police after noticing that the family’s car hadn’t moved, and that the lights in the home had been off for several days.

Jessica had been shot once, and she was found holding Alexandre, who was shot four times. Timothy was found dead on the floor with a shotgun between his legs, according to the report. Samantha was found shot twice in her bed.

Authorities believe the couple drugged their children with sleeping pills mixed into hot chocolate.

The 55-page police report also shows that the couple had been having marital issues, including Timothy having sexually explicit contact with women from Craigslist.

Before they moved to the United States, Timothy and Jessica lived in Switzerland. Both were married when they met and ended their prior marriages acrimoniously, according to the report.

Before they carried out their plan, the couple reached out to their former spouses and relatives.

However, in an attempt to cover her tracks of involvement, Jessica deleted her text messages and emails. Mapleton police concluded that had the couple survived the incident they would have been charged with aggravated murder of their children.

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