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Spate of murder-suicides spurs warnings about domestic violence

Posted December 15, 2011
Updated December 16, 2011

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— 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:

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:

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.

Murder-suicides spur warnings about domestic violence Murder-suicides spur warnings about domestic violence

"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:

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  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Dec 21, 2011

    Anyone can report abuse. The police will go check on the person and the situation.

  • SueInNC Dec 16, 2011

    These stories break my heart - so so so unnecessary. There are people who will help you. Just ask.

  • turkeydance Dec 15, 2011

    "in and around the Triangle". so any place that's 50 miles from
    Raleigh or Durham or Chapel Hill qualifies? might as well throw
    in Virginia. "reasons for the *surge* in violence". ok. show the
    difference between 2011 and 2010. all of the deaths/injuries are tragic...but that's not the story. yeah, i could probably look it up, but i'm too lazy. just curious.

  • mfarmer1 Dec 15, 2011

    >> "16 dead in local murder-suicides"
    Dang that's allot

    I do have bouts of depreciation, and have thought about suicide, but I have always sought help when I needed it. Mental Health Counseling does work.