North Carolina authorities have confirmed that five family members were victims of a “horrific” murder-suicide last week, according to county officials.
The Craven County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Monday morning to update the media on the circumstances of the Ireland family, who were all found slain in their home on Kinsaw Court in Vanceboro. Police believe Michael Jay Ireland, 39, killed his wife April Ireland, 26, their children, Michael Jayson, 4, Bryson Griffon, 3, and Carolyn Nicole, 8 months old, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said Monday. Michael Ireland also killed their family dog and ended the spree by killing himself, Hughes said.
On Friday, a family member had called for a wellness check on April Ireland because there had been no contact with her since Wednesday. About noon Friday, Craven County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived to find the home locked, with no forced entry. Part of a body could be seen from an open curtain.
An autopsy was conducted Sunday, Hughes said. The family members perished due to being shot, likely with a revolver found at the scene, Hughes said. It is believed the killings took place sometime between Wednesday and Friday. Hughes described the discovery of the family as the “most horrific crime scene” his force had seen in more than 40 years.
“To my knowledge, Craven County has never experienced such a senseless loss of innocent lives in modern times,” Hughes said.
Neighbors, who said they preferred not to be identified, told New Bern’s Sun Journal that the couple fought regularly. Neighbors reported hearing “shouting and screaming” from the Irelands’ home often.
Last year, April Ireland started a GoFundMe for her husband, who she said “suffered severely from depression among other mental illnesses.” She also said on the fundraising page that the funds would help her husband because he was “very badly” injured from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That fundraiser raised $130 of its $10,000 goal.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover the funeral costs for April Ireland and her children.
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