Paragraph 3 reads: "Because toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, detectives do not know if he was taking his medication at the time of his death. The drugs seized were Cymbalta (duloxetine), alprazolam [a benzodiazepine] paroxetine [Paxil] , and buspirone [BuSpar ] ", officials said."
SSRI Stories Note: BuSpar is an anti-anxiety drug which, unlike the anti-anxiety benzodiazepines, raises serotonin levels in the brain. Dr. Ronald R. Fieve, M.D., best selling author of "Moodswing
" states in his book "Prozac
" that BuSpar should not be given in conjunction with an SSRI as it can raise the possibility of mania and psychosis. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=89289 Details emerge in Middletown family murder-suicide
Originally published April 22, 2009
By Gina Gallucci-White
Christopher Wood and Francie Billotti-Wood were $460,000 in debt at the time of their deaths, according to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.
Wood, 34, also suffered from depression and anxiety and had been prescribed four anti-depressant medications, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
Because toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, detectives do not know if he was taking his medication at the time of his death. The drugs seized were Cymbalta (duloxetine), alprazolam, paroxetine, and buspirone, officials said.
Detectives believe Wood, 34, killed Billotti-Wood, 33, and their three children, Chandler, 5, Gavin, 4, and Fiona, 2, Thursday night or early Friday morning. Billotti-Wood was last seen by a relative about 8:45 p.m. Thursday.
Wood apparently used a small caliber pistol to shoot Billotti-Wood and Chandler twice, Gavin three times and Fiona once. Detectives concluded the four deaths most likely occurred while they slept. All four were shot in the head and died from the gunshot wounds. Wounds described as "traumatic cuts" were made after they died.
A reporter asked Jenkins if it was true that the three children's throats were slashed almost to the point of decapitation.
Jenkins took a deep breath, looked down, then up and addressed the question.
"Listen I, I really don't know what this purpose serves to the public," Jenkins said. "I will simply answer yes."
The reporter then asked if Billotti-Wood did not suffer the same fate as her children.
"I cannot confirm that," he said.
Detectives took a kitchen knife and hand pruning saw from the house.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the four deaths as homicides, Jenkins said.
After killing his family, Wood waited to kill himself.
He went on the Internet at some point and a babysitter came to the home around 9 a.m. Friday to make sure she would be caring for the three children while the couple went to a church event later that night. The babysitter told investigators his demeanor was normal.
Detectives believe Wood died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound after that encounter. His death has been ruled a suicide.
Both the pistol and shotgun were seized by the sheriff's office and their ownership is being traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Jenkins said. They were the only guns found in the home.
These are the first homicides in Middletown ever, authorities believe.
"We are not psychologists," Jenkins said. "We are investigators. I will never attempt to speculate why. I don't think his family could ever answer or speculate why, so I would not even stand here and try and address that."
The family was found dead by Billotti-Wood's father, Sam, around 9 a.m. Saturday. He went to the yellow two-story house at 13 Washington St. to check on them after he was unable to reach them for a day. Upon discovering the family, he left and called the sheriff's office.
"No one expected this," Jenkins said. "No one saw this coming in either family. É No one, no one ever dreamed of anything like this."
Deputies found six notes written by Wood; none indicated the murders were premeditated.
Four were addressed to his wife and children, describing his love and sorrow. Another was written to his mother, father and sister apologizing for what he had done and also telling of his love and sorrow for the family.
"The sixth and final note can be best characterized as a suicide note describing his day-to-day stresses, his day-to-day frustrations," Jenkins said. "Their financial problems and how he was going to raise his family. He also stated that he had tried a number of medications to control his depression and he had, in fact, felt it had gotten worse over time."
Detectives did not know if Wood was seeing a psychiatrist at the time of his death. That portion of the investigation continues.
There was no known history of domestic abuse in the family.
Wood was employed at CSX Railroad as a sales accountant handling transportation of chemicals and fertilizer. His annual salary was $97,000. Billotti-Wood was a stay-at-home mom and an ardent volunteer.
The couple had a house in Jacksonville, Fla., which had not been sold, Jenkins said. CSX had plans to buy it, but those fell through.
Foreclosure proceedings on their Jacksonville home began in October, according to Duval County, Fla., public records.
The original mortgage on the Jacksonville house was for $208,354 in March 2005, the documents state. Two additional mortgages were later made on the property -- $50,000 in June 2005 and $108,000 in November 2006. The $50,000 was repaid in November 2006 while the $108,000 mortgage remains open.
The family had been renting the Middletown house since August 2008, Jenkins said. They lived in West Virginia for a short time after their move north from Jacksonville.
Chandler was a kindergarten pupil at Middletown Primary School while Gavin and Fiona were enrolled in programs at the Middletown United Methodist Church Preschool.
The Wood and Billotti families ask that only family and friends attend the funeral, Jenkins said. He also released a statement from the families.
It describes Wood and Billotti-Wood's love for each other and their devotion to their children.
"Francie and Chris will always be remembered as beloved children, treasured siblings, and affectionate parents," the statement reads. "While their time on this Earth may seem too short for our finite perspective, family and friends continue to focus on the beautiful moments shared with the children, and with Chris and Francie. We will always remember the sound of their laughter. And we rejoice in the knowledge that we will see them again someday when our Heavenly Father calls each of us home to his side."
The statement praises God for the gift of the family and how each member touched lives for the better.
"In these most difficult times, the Billotti and Wood families stand united, loving on and comforting one another as Christ Jesus directs," it reads. "It is through the strength of family, the love of friends, and the support of our hometown communities, that we are able to boldly embrace the future, choosing to live each day without regrets. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated."
Staff writer Justin M. Palk contributed to this story.