Local News

Sheriff: Vanceboro man shot wife, dog and 3 young kids then killed himself

Posted January 25, 2020 4:48 p.m. EST
Updated January 27, 2020 11:07 a.m. EST

— The Craven County Sheriff's Office believes a man shot his family and dog before he killed himself inside his Vanceboro home.

In a press conference on Monday, Sheriff Chip Hughes said the scene his deputies witnessed on Friday was one of the most "horrific crime scenes in their career."

According to Hughes, on Jan. 24, deputies responded to the home at 107 Kinshaw Court around 2 p.m. after a family member called 911 and said she had not heard from anyone in the household for two days.

When deputies arrived at the home, the doors were locked, and there was no sign of forced entry, Hughes said. When deputies saw a body through a partially-opened curtain, they broke into the home.

Hughes said the bodies of Michael Ireland, his wife, April, and their three kids, ages 8 months, 3 and 4, were found inside the home along with the family dog.

Officials are awaiting the results of autopsies, which were performed Sunday, but Hughes said the evidence inside the home indicates that Michael Ireland killed his family and then killed himself.

Hughes said the bodies of Michael Ireland and the dog were found in the master bedroom. There was a gun beside the bodies.

April Ireland and her daughter were found dead on the couch in the living room, according to Hughes. The bodies of the other two children were found elsewhere in the home.

Hughes said the murder-suicide occurred sometime between Wednesday night and Friday morning.

"To my knowledge, Craven County has not experienced such a senseless crime in modern times," Hughes said on Monday, offering condolences to the affected families.

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