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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Strack Family Murder-Suicide Case

     Benjamin Strack, his wife Kristi, and their children resided in a duplex in Springville, Utah, a town of 30,000 45 miles south of Salt Lake City not far from Provo. Just before eight o'clock on the night of Saturday September 27, 2014, the oldest Strack child, accompanied by his grandparents, approached the Strack half of the duplex to check on the family. Mr. and Mrs. Strack and three of their children had not responded to emails, text messages or phone calls.

     The grandparents and the oldest child entered the house through the front door that stood wide open. (The back door was cracked open.) In the master bedroom they discovered Mr. and Mrs. Strack and the three children. The 36-year-old parents and the children--Benson, 14; Emery, 12; and Zion, 11--were dead. 
     Police officers at the scene noted that none of the bodies showed signs of physical trauma. Moreover, there was no evidence of a struggle and nothing had been taken from the house. 
     Firefighters tested the air inside the dwelling and did not detect traces of carbon monoxide. The fact that pets in the house were alive and the other residents of duplex were unharmed, pointed away from death by carbon monoxide poisoning. 
     Following the five autopsies, the medical examiner announced that none of the Stracks had been subjected to violent assault. The cause and manner of these deaths remained undetermined pending the results of toxicological tests. A police spokes person told reporters that foul play had not been ruled out in this case. The medical examiner did not reveal when the Stracks had died. 
    On October 28, 2014, reporters learned that investigators believe that the children and their parents had been poisoned to death on September 27, 2014. According to detectives, the children's bodies had been positioned in their parents' bedroom after their deaths. The bodies of Benjamin and Kristi and their children were each lying next to a cup of red liquid. Kristi Stack had red liquid coming out of her mouth.

     From the house, investigators had removed 14 drinking cups and bottles, a pitcher of red juice, and a purple bucket containing yellow liquid. Searchers also seized a pair of slippers that contained a drop of blood and a towel stained by a red substance. Detectives, in the family's garbage, found empty methadone bottles, 10 empty boxes of nighttime cold medicine, various pill bottles, several empty boxes of sleeping aids, a bag of marijuana, and Pepsi cups containing traces of a red liquid.

     In January the Utah State Medical Examiner declared that the deaths of the children were caused by toxic amounts of diphenydramine and methadone. Kristi Stack had died from the same drug plus dextrophan and doxylamine. Benjamin Strack had toxic levels of heroin in his system.

     The medical examiner ruled the parent's death as suicide and the two youngest children's death as homicide. The death of the 14-year-old was listed as "undetermined."

     According to the parents' friends and family, the mentally ill couple were worried about "evil in the world" and wanted to avoid a "pending apocalypse.
     

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