SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- State Police said a mother, father, and three children were found dead in their home in Saco Sunday. State Police are officially calling this incident a quadruple murder-suicide. This is also considered one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine's history.
The victims were 35-year-old Heather Smith, 12-year-old Jason Montez, 7-year-old Noah Montez, and 4-year-old Lily Smith. Detectives said 33-year-old Joel Smith shot his family Saturday night around 11:30 before turning the gun on himself.
Police said they did not find a suicide note.
Police said a friend of the family called a worker associated with the apartment complex to check on the family after growing concern for them. The worker entered the apartment, discovered the bodies, and called Saco Police around 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Police said they found the bodies of the two boys were found in their separate bedrooms, and the two adults and their daughter were in the parent's bedroom. Police found a shotgun in the parent's room.
Saco and State Police were on scene at the Riverview apartments on Water Street for most of Sunday.
Heather Nason, neighbor and babysitter for the children, described the family as "great" and cheerful.
"When we heard that someone was killed we were obviously very shocked about it. And then to hear who it was, and that the kids were involved too...I just fell to the floor. It's just horrible, horrible, horrible," said Nason.
Nason said nobody suspected there was a problem in the house, but there must have "been some hidden demons."
State Police said this is the sixth time that four people have been killed in a multiple homicide in Maine since 1941. The last time was in September of 2006 at a Newry bed and breakfast.
According to the most recent Census data, the population in Saco is just under 19,000 people. It's a fairly quiet community, with only four murders in Saco since 2000, according to City Data.
If you, or anyone you know, is dealing with a crisis situation, free professional help is available 24 hours a day. In Maine, call 211 to be connected to resources across the state. The Family Crisis Services, at 1-866-834-4357, helps with domestic violence situations. There are trained professionals. For those needing to speak with a trained professional, call 1-888-568-1112 to connect with the suicide prevention hotline.