Updated 29 January 2015

Parents who drugged children feared apocalypse

A couple who killed themselves and three of their children using methadone and over-the-counter medication often spoke about the "final judgment", police say.


The parents of a Utah family found dead in a locked bedroom at their home last year often discussed religiously-held notions of the apocalypse and orchestrated a multi-drug familicide using methadone and over-the-counter cold medication, police said on Tuesday.

The bodies of Benjamin and Kristi Strack and three of their children aged 11 to 14 were discovered by the Stracks' lone surviving child and his grandmother on September 27 in Springville, south of Salt Lake City.

"It was a fairly common theme for the parents to talk about, the apocalypse, the end of days, final judgment," said Springville Police Department detective Greg Turnbow, the lead officer on the case.

"Their surviving son, when he was interviewed, indicated that his mother had made comments that if things got bad enough she would much rather take herself and her family out in a comfortable way, rather than a painful way."

The information was released at a press conference on Tuesday that covered information from a medical examiner and broader information about the case, Turnbow said.

The parents deaths were ruled suicides. The children ages 11 and 12 were ruled homicides, and the 14-year-old son had a note in which he was aware of his "possible impending doom," Turnbow said.

Flowers and photos are on display during a vigil for the Strack family at Pioneer Park in Provo on October 2 2014. (AP Photo/The Daily Herald, Grant Hindsley, File)

The home where the family members were found dead in Springville. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The father had heroin in his body and the others had methadone and over-the-counter medication, Turnbow said, citing coroner's findings. There was no sign of a struggle.

Among the items recovered from the home by investigators, according to the warrants cited by the Deseret News, were empty bottles of liquid methadone, as well as 10 opened and empty packets of nighttime cold and flu medication.

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