A North Dakota mother believed to have killed her three children and herself had reportedly set up a GoFundMe a week before carrying out the grisly murder-suicide.
Mother Astra Volk, 35, and her children, Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14, were found dead Thursday in their Grand Forks home. Police found their bodies after conducting a welfare check requested by an elementary school that two of the children attended, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
The newspaper reported that police said that all four died of gunshot wounds. Authorities had reportedly recovered a handgun from the home.
Local media claimed to have obtained the GoFundMe set up by Volk eight days earlier. In it, she revealed how she and her sons suffered from mental illness, bi-polar, manic depression and autism, Valley News Live reported.
“I work full time but my wages have recently been garnished for medical bills,” she reportedly wrote. “I’m looking for help with 1 month’s bills to help get on our feet and look for a second job. I am trying to stay positive so I do not end up back in the hospital.”
According to the Herald, the mother-of-three said the family had been getting their food from their local pantry. Records obtained by the newspaper stated that Volk had been in civil court three times in the past year for debts totaling $3,700.
Volk’s Facebook page said she was single. Neighbors claimed that she was living alone with her children and was separated from her husband, the children’s father.
They also told the Associated Press that the family had recently moved into the newly-renovated home but they rarely saw Volk because she worked odd hours. They also claimed to have not seen the children outside due to the long winter.
Authorities couldn’t immediately confirm whether the gun recovered from the scene was used to kill the family-of-four; they also declined to reveal where in the home the bodies were found.
“I think any time that you have a scene where children are dead, it’s a horrific scene,” Grand police lieutenant Derik Zimmel said during a Thursday evening press conference, according to the West Fargo Pioneer.
“The condition of the house and anything related to that really doesn’t matter…It’s a great tragedy, and I think we’re all going to be affected by it.”
[Featured Image: Astra Volk, Arianna Talmage, Aidan Talmage, and Tyler Talmage/Facebook]