DA: Dad took kids to amusement park before murder-suicide

SINKING SPRING, Pa. (WPVI) -- Authorities said on Monday that a father was responsible for a murder-suicide that also left his wife and their three children dead. They also released new details about the killings.

Mark Short Sr., 40, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Berks County district attorney's office announced.

He was found dead inside his home in Sinking Spring, Pa. on August 6. A gun was found next to him, and a note with an apparent confession was found on a table.

"At the request of the family, they wished we did not release the contents of the letter," said Michael Gombar, the Berks County Chief Detective. "Other than the fact that he did buy the gun and he did commit the homicide."

Also near his body were those of his wife, 33-year-old Megan, and their three children: 8-year-old Lianna, 5-year-old Mark Jr. and 2-year-old Willow.

"This is a very tragic incident that took place in our community and I hope we can heal and move on," District Attorney John Adams said.

In a news conference, authorities released details about the days and weeks leading up the deaths.

In early June, security from a Philadelphia hotel had to be called to a room in which Mark Short Sr. and his wife, Megan, had been staying for a domestic dispute.

That was followed by a police response at their home on July 18 for another domestic dispute, but no charges were filed.

"We advised her on how to get a protection from abuse order, in fact she did say she was going to get one the next day, but she never followed through," said Chief Lee Schweyer of the Sinking Spring Police Dept.
The next day, police say Short bought a handgun and ammunition from a store in Lancaster County.

Then, the day before the killings, the DA said Mark Short took his three children to Hersheypark.

On August 6, the DA said Megan Short's mom called police because her daughter failed to show up for a lunch date.

Megan Short was also set to move to an apartment in Yardley, Pa. that same day, the DA said.

Police responded to the home to find the bodies inside.

Neighbors say Megan Short had posted on social media before her death that she planned to leave her husband. A funeral Mass was held Friday.

The Shorts had been featured in news stories about their difficulties getting medication for Willow, who had a heart transplant. Megan Short previously wrote that anxiety related to her daughter's condition had left her with post-traumatic stress disorder and "survivor's guilt" when children with similar problems from other families died.
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