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Murder-suicide involving 3 young children shocks rural Virginia community

A woman and three children are dead in rural southwest Virginia after an apparent murder-suicide, the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies were called to the home early Friday morning and found a 27-year-old woman and two children — ages 3 and 10 — dead at the scene and a 6-year-old critical wounded. The 6-year-old was flown to Johnson City Medical Center and was pronounced dead on Saturday.

An 8-year-old “escaped the scene,” the sheriff’s office said. That child is with family members, according to WJHL.

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Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler said deputies arrived at about 6:15 a.m. Friday and that a preliminary investigation reveals the woman killed the children and then herself. He did not reveal the manner of the deaths, however.

The bodies have been sent to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies, and the investigation will continue, pending that report, he said. Names are not being released at this time.

Shuler also did not describe the relationship between the victims, but neighbors in the trailer home community said they were a family, the Bristol Herald Courier reported.

“We weren’t tight,” said Billy Campbell, who lives in the trailer behind the scene. “They kept to themselves. My wife, she talked to them a lot.”

Campbell told the Herald Courier that his cousin owns most of the land in the tight-knit community and rents it out. The family involved lived in the community longer than he had, Campbell said.

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[Featured image: Pixabay]