STAFFORD, Va. - The Stafford County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the two parents and their two children killed in a triple murder-suicide.
Authorities say 35-year-old Lance Buckley, his wife, 30-year-old Amy, their 5-year-old daughter, Claire, and 17-month-old daughter, Abigail, were found dead inside of a home on Thursday in the Windsor Forest subdivision in the northwestern part of the county.
On Thursday morning, authorities said they received a 911 call from a man identifying himself as Lance Buckley reporting a murder-suicide at their family’s home and then hung up the phone. When Stafford County sheriff deputies arrived at the home, they found four bodies inside.
As an entire community tries to deal with the tragedy that rocked their quiet neighborhood, questions continue to swirl because it appears there were red flags. In May of last year, shortly after the couple's second daughter was born, Lance Buckley, a Howard University Ph.D student, was reported missing.
Several law enforcement agencies launched a huge search and Buckley’s mother asked for the public’s help to help find her son. At one point, authorities expressed concern about Buckley having a gun.
But several days later, he was found unharmed at a campground near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. No explanation was ever given about what exactly happened and how he ended up there.
Sadly, a year and a half later, surviving family members and an entire community are left dealing with a great loss. Rockhill Elementary School, where 5-year-old Claire Buckley attended, released a statement Friday about her death:
"The entire Stafford County Public School community is saddened about the fatal incident involving Claire Buckley, a Rockhill Elementary School student. Although the incident did not occur on-campus, we know it can have an impact on our school community. The grief responders’ team is available at the school to help students and staff cope with the loss. A letter was sent home to parents and guardians informing them of the incident and steps the school is taking to help students. Supporting our school community is a top priority at Rockhill Elementary and all schools in SCPS."
“Today, Claire's kindergarten class, the students made a book, a memorial book,” said Stafford County Public Schools spokesperson Sherrie Johnson. “Students were able to put their memories down on paper in the book and that was a healthy activity that they did today to remember Claire.”
The medical examiner’s office has not released a cause of death for the Buckleys.