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Police: Fayetteville family's death a murder-suicide

Posted November 3, 2009
Updated November 4, 2009

— A Fayetteville man shot and killed his wife and two teenage children Monday night and then killed himself, police said Tuesday.

William "Billy" Maxwell Jr., 47, killed his family at their house, 314 West Park Drive, police said. The victims included his wife, Kathryn Maxwell, 43, daughter Connor Maxwell, 17, and son Cameron Maxwell, 15.

Police have not said what the possible motives were.

Family members went to the home Monday evening and found the four people dead, police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said. They called 911 around 8:30 p.m.

"The (in-laws) were able to look right through the front window and see there were deceased bodies," Chance said.

When officers arrived, they looked through the window and saw Kathryn Maxwell's body, Chance said. They entered the house and found Billy Maxwell Jr. and his son. They found his daughter's body further inside the home.

Police stayed at the scene overnight and removed the bodies around 4:30 a.m.

Mourners crowd church to remember victims Mourners crowd church to remember victims

Billy Maxwell Jr. applied for a concealed weapon permit in December 2007 and was granted one in January 2008, according to authorities. The permit was still active at the time of Monday's murder-suicide.

The family attended Snyder Memorial Baptist Church. Friends said the siblings were involved in the youth ministry and the youth choir, and their father was a deacon.

Connor, a senior, and Cameron, a freshman, were students at Village Christian Academy. Connor was a Girl Scout working on her gold award, the highest award, and was a varsity cheerleader at the school. 

"Very quiet, very studious student,” William Warren, the principal at Village Christian Academy, said of Connor.

Cameron was on the junior varsity basketball team.

“Cameron was the freshman, and he was always full of life,” Warren said.

Billy Maxwell Jr. was a basketball coach at the school.

"Talking with him just a few weeks ago, he was excited about the upcoming season, and was just ready to get started working with the athletes on his team,” Warren said.

The school held a special service to honor the siblings Tuesday, and counselors were available.

"Things happen in our society that we have no answer for," said Lena Scott, interim administrator of Village Christian Academy.

"It's a very sad day, and it's a very hard to explain day, but the Lord takes care of us, and that's what we're praying for," said Lou Nelon, the church administrator. "We've got a lot of good folks helping us get through that."

Mourners crowd church to remember victims

Snyder Memorial Baptist Church held a candlelight prayer service for the family Tuesday evening in the sanctuary.

"We feel helpless to change the events of the last 24 hours,” said John Cook, pastor of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

Hundreds of people packed the church to remember the family through tearful tributes.

"I loved them so much and I cannot wait until I see them again," teenager Libby Rose said.

"She was beautiful,” Alexa Copenhaver said of her friend, Connor.

Upon entering the church, youth minister Craig Morrison asked people to write down memories of the Maxwells.

“The way we can honor the Maxwell family tonight and today is by sharing our stories,” he said.

Morrison said the stories will be shared with relatives of the Maxwells.

During a candlelight vigil after the service, people hugged one another and tried to make sense of the deaths.

“We do not understand what we have lived through, and we do not know what we are living through at this moment,” said Robbie Byrd, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church's minister of counseling.

Funeral arrangements for the family were still being made late Tuesday.


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  • ladyblue Nov 4, 2009

    I think the family knows that someone they love has taken the lives of the other ones they they loved as well. This is personal matter and it is true if he didn't have a gun that some of them may of gotten away but you don't know any of the facts in this story. It seems from police statement the father did it and we will not know the reasons. I am sure the family is having a hard enough time to deal with their tragedy that they are torn apart for answers as well. May they find peace of heart among them. I do believe if someone intentionally wishes to kill someone they will use any weapon of their choice to do it. A gun happened to be the choice here. So now let the family grieve. We don't know what the shooters frame of mind was in and it's not my place to judge or guess. I'm sure they are still seeking answers as to why that is the investigators and the family and friends.

  • familyfour Nov 4, 2009

    boing...I get your point, but my whole point is that people are the problem.

    I don't know how we go about fixn that, but I think it is a good place to start.

    When it gets to the point that your family, your religion, even, is not enough to make you value life....there is a deeply rooted problem that would have matured, regardless.

    There are many ways to be destructive. Cowards generally take the easiest way out. And sorry to say, that it was this fella did.

    From my own experiences, I truly believe in my heart that these people know better....depression is an issue...but it goes deeper than that.

    Anyone will find something to contribute shortcomings to, but we all have the option to choose otherwise. It is the courage of the heart that should take over, when the mind is not strong enough to lead.

    When anything other than that happens, a choice has been made to be less....to do less...to take the low road, and quit.

    That's not depression..it's insanity...not much better..

  • wildcat Nov 4, 2009

    Innocent children lives taken over nothing. God bless their soul.

  • wildcat Nov 4, 2009

    My condolences to the families. I wish we could not ever hear or read these kind of stories. But it will happen again, so sorry to say.

  • boingc Nov 4, 2009

    "guns are not the problem. True, they up the destruction level"

    Exactly my point. Guns may not be the root problem, but they increase the loss of life. I never said ban guns, I just said without a gun he likely wouldn't have been able to kill his whole family...

  • wildcat Nov 4, 2009

    Why did he take the kids life?

  • wildcat Nov 4, 2009

    This is so sad.

  • tattooed1 Nov 4, 2009

    Depression is a very black hole. If you feel that suicide is the
    only out, that is your choice. Killing those around you,that is
    murder. How sad.

  • familyfour Nov 4, 2009

    boing...guns are not the problem. True, they up the destruction level, but the answer is not in prohibition of the weapon, access will always be there....the focus must be on people....

    Not trying to argue, just trying to make a point.

  • foetine Nov 4, 2009

    all i hear is they don't give concealed weapons permits to a nutjob that would shoot his family. wrong now