LA PLATA, Md. - A father shot and killed his 3-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself in a suspected murder-suicide in southern Maryland, according to police.
The incident was reported Sunday night at Gilbert Run Park in the Charlotte Hall area of Charles County.
Investigators said family members became worried after the father, 33-year-old Brian Davis, who had visitation rights with his daughter, 3-year-old Maddie Davis, did not return with her Sunday at his scheduled time of 6:30 p.m.
Family members searched Gilbert Run Park knowing it was a favorite spot for them to visit. Police say family members spotted the father's truck with both the father and daughter dead inside.
"One of the places they thought to look were local parks because that's where he frequently took his daughter so some family members went to various parks and some went to Gilbert Run Park and that's when they observed his truck," Charles County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Diane Richardson explained. "It had been backed up into a space in the corner and as they approached they saw the father inside with the daughter and it was clear that they were both deceased."
Officers say they were called to the scene and recovered a handgun from the vehicle at about 7:30 p.m.
Authorities said Brian Davis had updated his profile and cover photos on his Facebook page to photos featuring Maddie Davis at about 6:26 p.m.
Investigators have searched Brian Davis' apartment on Carroll Place in La Plata in hopes of finding a motive behind the shooting. Records show he had joint-custody of his daughter and was allowed to have her for one overnight per week and an overnight every other weekend.
He was paying nearly $1,000 per month in child support, according to records. A family friend of Maddie Davis' mother said it's unclear at the moment why Brian Davis would kill his daughter. Investigators said there was no note in the truck.
"The mother and father were in a relationship for a number of years, maybe eight to 10 years," Richardson said. "They had separated and gone their own ways a couple years ago and there may have been some activity involving protective orders last year but we're still following up on that information."
Besides traffic infractions, the only criminal record FOX 5 uncovered on Brian Davis is when he appeared to violate a protective order in 2004 that was taken out by a different woman he'd previously dated.
"It's been heartbreaking for so many people," Richardson said. "I know for even our own officers it was just a horrible sight, a horrible thing to have to deal with and our thoughts and prayers really are with the families at this time."