Police made a gruesome discovery on New Year’s Eve when they found the bodies of a woman and a 9-year-old girl inside their home in Magna, Utah.
Authorities believe Karina Clark, 41, shot her daughter, Madison Clark, before fatally shooting herself in an apparent murder-suicide, reported CBS.
Their bodies may have possibly been in the home for weeks, police said. Investigators are still trying to piece together how the shootings occurred.
A church member noticed something was not right when the Christmas gift, which was left on Clark’s porch, hadn’t been touched for more than a week. The person became alarmed and alerted police. The mother and daughter lived alone.
United Police Lt. Brian Lohrke said they suspect the bodies were in the home for one to three weeks based on when they were last seen and Clark’s social media activity, reported the news station.
Lohrke revealed that the mother suffered from mental health issues.
“We’re not going to release how many [gunshots] or any of that. It’s a little too graphic,” Lohrke told KUTV. “It’s a tragic situation involving this 9-year-old daughter that was killed by her mother who obviously suffered some mental issues that tragically plague our society nowadays.”
During the investigation, police found a rifle at the scene, which Karina Clark apparently owned legally, reported CBS. Authorities are still unclear why Clark chose to kill her own daughter and take her own life.
A YouCaring page has been set up by a family member, Alia Hararah, to help cover the funeral expenses for the mother and daughter.
“I have tried to find the words to write this and I honestly still feel mute to this heartbreaking situation we are facing heading into 2018 but I am doing my best to stand strong for my family and cousins during this time,” Harrarah wrote.
According to the page, Clark also had three other children.
“Mental illness is such an ugly and heartbreaking thing!! You never know what someone is going through and capable of and my heart is breaking for these kids who now have to bury their mother and little sister,” Harrarah added.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.