Law enforcement is looking for a motive, for what lead a Maury County mother to kill four of her children and then turn the gun on herself.

“No matter how strong you think a person is you never know who is having struggles. Just try to get them professional help as quickly as possible,” Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland discussed mental health during a press conference just hours after the gruesome discovery.

Professor of clinical psychology at Vanderbilt, Dr. Jonathan Becker said murder-suicide is very rare, and because of that they don’t get many opportunities to study why a person would commit murder-suicide.

Dr. Becker told News 4 there is likely some kind of build up in terms of changes in behavior, or the way the person interacts with people. Dr. Becker says many times people are good at hiding what they’re going through.

“People see this and they think about the violence of it, and how could you do that,” Dr. Becker said. “They want to equate that with mental illness when this is again very rare, and folks with mental illness are not more likely to be violent than folks without a mental illness.”

Dr. Becker says one in four people lives with a mental illness and family members or close friends are likely the first ones to notice.

Dr. Becker says some signs to look out for are behavioral changes, for instance if an outgoing person suddenly becomes withdrawn or they no longer want to leave the house.

Don’t ignore these signs, Dr. Becker says you can ask your loved one about the changes, bring up your concerns and offer some resources like a therapist or psychologist.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Brittany Weiner joined the News4 team as a reporter in July 2018.

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