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Death of five in southern Maine ruled murder-suicide: police

(Reuters) - A man in the southern Maine city of Saco shot dead his wife and three children before turning the shotgun on himself, police said on Monday, calling the incident one of the worst cases of domestic violence in state history.

The five members of the family, including children ranging in age from 4 to 12, were found dead in their second-floor apartment on Sunday, victims of an apparent murder-suicide by Joel Smith, 33, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said in an e-mail.

Smith's wife, 35-year-old Heather Smith, had confided in a friend on Saturday night that her husband had pointed a gun at his head earlier in the week and threatened suicide, but she had not contacted authorities for assistance, McCausland said.

The bodies of the couple's two sons, Jason Montez, 12, and Noah Montez, 7, were found in their respective bedrooms, while 4-year-old Lily Smith was found along side her mother in the couple's bedroom, where the shooter's body was also found next to a shotgun, McCausland said.

No suicide note was left, he said.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Eric Beech)

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