After a 6-year-old boy failed to show up to school, police investigated the family’s Missouri home to discover the child alone and his parents dead after a suspected murder-suicide.
The parents, who were identified as James Delao, 50, and Kimberly Delao, 46.
Valley Park School District reportedly called police after the 6-year-old child did not show up for school.
Upon the police’s arrival, the child opened the door, and the officers found both parents dead. Both parents died from stab wounds, and officials believe James stabbed Kimberly first and then killed himself.
Their son was not harmed, and he has been released to the St. Louis County Family Court.
It is not clear what the motives behind the murder-suicide are as of yet. Neighbors said both parents had children from previous marriages, and the boy was close to the other kids.
According to statistics released by the American Association of Suicidology in January, suicide kills more people in Missouri than fatal motor accidents and homicides combined, the Southest Missourian reported at the time.
Missouri experiences a higher number of suicides than the national average, almost ranking in the top one-third of states in the country for suicide rates, and numbers are expected to rise.
Mental health professionals said there are many factors that lead to a person committing suicide, ranging from biology to stress. They advise the public to encourage individuals at risk to open up.
“The most important thing is when you see some of the warning signs, such as being depressed or high-stress situations, just to start the dialogue with them,” Michael Hester, a licensed professional counselor and co-occurring disorder specialist, told the Southeast Missourian.
“Some people are afraid if I say something, if I ask them, I will put it in their mind,” Hester added. “Most people are going to tell you [if they’re having suicidal thoughts].”