‘Murder-Suicide’ Note Found in Home of Killed Family of 5, Police Say
Authorities say a note detailing post-traumatic stress, a child’s illness, and marital discord was found inside the Berks County, Pennsylvania home. A handgun near one of the adults was also discovered.
The bodies of 40-year-old Mark Jason Short, his wife, Megan L. Short, 33, and the couple’s three children, 8-year-old Lianna, 5-year-old Mark Jr. and 2-year-old Willow, along with the family’s dog, were all found dead.
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The identity of the shooter has yet to be revealed.
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous described the family as friendly.
“I never would’ve suspected there were any issues,” he said.
The Short family have garnered media attention before. In 2014, the family was profiled in an October story for the Reading Eagle where they discussed then-5-month-old Willow’s health issues. She was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which the left side of the heart is underdeveloped. Willow underwent a heart transplant at just one week old.
Megan documented the painful struggles of Willow’s medical diagnosis in a 2014 post titled “Learning to Heal: My Experience with PTSD” on the Philly at Heart blog.
“There are very few moments when you can clearly see your life as separated into the before and after,” Megan wrote. “Having a child born with a severe congenital heart defect has been the most significant shift of my life.”
She added, “I can still feel the emotions and fear as the doctors told me that she would not survive the massive bleeding she was experiencing post-surgery. I still see her tiny heart beating through the dressing used to cover her open chest and all the tubes and wires and machines as I wondered if they would be able to keep her alive until a donor heart became available.”
The mother of three said she had “overwhelming anxiety bringing her home,” wondering if she’d be able to keep Willow alive without the help of physicians and other medical personnel. However, as time went on, and with the support of other mothers with similar experiences, her confidence in her ability to raise her youngest daughter grew.
She revealed to the blog the impact Willow’s medical diagnosis has had on her life, including taking medication for her own diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Certain smells and hallways trigger memories every single time,” she said.
The 33-year-old said she wrote the post to serve as an ally for others who share the same emotional toll.
“I wanted to share my experience so that other heart parents know they are not alone. Making time to take care of yourself is a necessity. Don’t be afraid to accept help or ask for it,” she wrote. “Fear and anxiety don’t have to control you. You can and will enjoy life again.”