‘Unspeakable’ | Mother, 2 children identified in Christmas Day double murder-suicide

Officials have identified the mother and her two children who were found on a Boston sidewalk in an apparent Christmas Day murder-suicide.

On Thursday, District Attorney Rachael Rollins identified the deceased as Erin Pascal, 40, and her children, 4-year-old Allison and 16-month-old Andrew, according to WCVB.

“Yesterday, the unspeakable happened, and now we are all struggling to make sense of the circumstances surrounding these deaths,” Rollins said.

Their bodies were found next to the Renaissance Park Garage about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Sources told WBZ-TV that Pascal left her West Roxbury home with her two children after an argument with the children's father, with whom she lived.

The father called 911 and reported Pascal as appearing suicidal.

Police are still searching Pascal’s black SUV, which was near the scene.

“This Christmas Day tragedy demonstrates the urgency of addressing mental health,” Rollins said.

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the idea that suicides occur more frequently during the holidays isn’t borne out by facts. The Annenberg Public Policy Center has been tracking media reports on suicide since 2000. A recent analysis found that 50% of articles written during the 2009–2010 holiday season perpetuated the myth.

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports the suicide rates peak in the spring and the fall.

Suicide remains a major public health problem, one that occurs throughout the year. It is the 10th-leading cause of death for Americans. Each year, more than 36,000 people take their lives.

In addition, more than 374,000 are treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries.

“This is a horrible tragedy for this family on this Christmas Day,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said on Twitter. “My prayers and deepest sympathies are with them.”

The garage is owned by Northeastern University.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) provides free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.