Raleigh, N.C. — Sixteen people have died in murder-suicides or attempted murder suicides in the past month in and around the Triangle, and five people have been injured in those cases.
Domestic violence experts point to tough economic times, as well as the added stress of the holidays, as possible reasons for the surge in violence.
The first murder-suicide, which involved the most victims, happened Nov. 20 in Greensboro when Mary Ann Holder shot her former lover and five others, including her own children, before committing suicide. Her former lover, Randal Scott Lamb, was the only survivor.
Investigators said Holder left notes taking responsibility for and apologizing for the shootings but offered no motive.
Since then, authorities have investigated four other local murder-suicides:
- Dec. 12: Slain Moore deputy remembered as outgoing, devoted
- Dec. 13: Hoke sheriff: Bragg soldier killed wife, himself
- Dec. 14: Franklin County couple killed in murder-suicide
The fourth murder-suicide happened in Pikeville on Dec. 9 after a couple was found dead on Sunny Ridge Lane. Their names were not released.
Authorities have also investigated two attempted murder-suicides:
- Dec. 9: Wendell shooting victim: 'I could have died that night'
- Dec. 9: Shooter in Franklin County attempted murder-suicide dies
James Osborn, who directs Durham Center Access, a crisis center and mental health agency, says it doesn't take much to push someone who is on the edge. He says what pushes a person over the edge varies, but he recommends always being on the lookout for major changes in behavior and never being afraid to speak up and seek help.
"It's a life or death matter," Osborn said.
Linda Rudolph, executive director of Safe Space, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency in Franklin County, says people in violent relationships typically see the violence escalate this time of year.
"I think the economy has a lot to do with it. It's the time of year. It's a very stressful time of year," she said.
Domestic violence counselors recommend not being afraid to speak up and always offering support to victims. The following resources are available:
- North Carolina State Suicide Prevention Information
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Wake County crisis hotline: 919-250-3133
- Durham County crisis hotline: 1-800-510-9132