Local News

Orange County Deputies Investigate Triple Murder, Suicide

Posted May 20, 2003

— Orange County investigators are searching for answers in an apparent triple murder-suicide Monday.

Detectives said Roderick Morris Farb shot his wife and two other people just before 7 a.m. at a residence near Mebane and then killed himself.

Deputies said they responded to a domestic-violence call of shots being fired. Upon their arrival, they set up a perimeter around the residence and observed what appeared to be bullet holes in the windows of the home.

Deputies said they did not see any movement or hear any noises inside the house and that attempts to contact anyone inside the home proved futile.

Members of the Orange County Sheriff's Office Special Emergency Response Team then made a forced entry into the residence and discovered four dead bodies with injuries that appeared to be inflicted by a firearm. The wounds on a victim identified as Farb appeared to be self-inflicted.

The victims were identified as Farb's wife, Erin Elizabeth Farb and her 9-year-old daughter, Ashley Thomas. A man from Utah who was reportedly staying with the family to protect Erin Farb from her husband was also killed.

Neighbors said they could hear gunshots as they took their children to school. A family friend said Erin Farb's 18-year-old son, Brandon, was getting on the school bus when he heard the gunfire from inside the home.

Roderick Farb and Erin Farb reportedly had been having marital problems. Erin Farb reportedly feared for her life, which is why her male friend was at the house on Monday.

Neighbors said Erin Farb was planning to file for a divorce and a restraining order against her husband.

"She'd been having some problems with Rod," neighbor Jerry Webster said. "She just found out about some emotional problems she didn't know about and so she became terrified and was going to get a restraining order, but she hadn't done that yet."

Investigators do not have a motive yet. They said they are searching Farb's computers for clues.

Authorities said Roderick Farb had a prior criminal history. Authorities say he

crashed his plane

at Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill in June 1999. Farb pleaded guilty to flying while impaired. Tests showed he had the active ingredient in marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

Farb was also a well-known diver and author of "Shipwrecks Off The North Carolina Coast." He was seen by many as one of the foremost experts of the USS Monitor wreck site.

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