Five family members, including a 2-year-old toddler, were found dead in their home in a small Pennsylvania town in what authorities are describing as an apparent murder-suicide.
Authorities discovered the bodies Saturday afternoon in the family's home in the Berks County town of Sinking Spring, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia, according to the Berks County District Attorney's Office.
The victims, who all died of gunshot wounds, were identified by the District Attorney's Office Sunday as Mark Short, 40, his wife, Megan, 33, and their children Lianna, 8, Mark Jr., 5, and Willow, 2. Officials say the family dog was also shot and killed.
According to officials, police discovered a handgun near one of the deceased adults. A handwritten "murder-suicide" note was also found in the home. Officials also say their investigation revealed there had been "domestic issues" between Megan and Mark Short.
Police did not release any information on who fired the shots.
Police say they went to the home to check on the welfare of the family after receiving a call from a relative concerned that Megan Short had not shown up for a lunch date.
On Dec. 20, Mark Short posted a picture of the couple on his Facebook page.
"She's still the most beautiful girl that I've ever met," he wrote. "I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have her as my wife and the mother of my three amazing children."
But neighbors told a different story.
The Reading Eagle reported that neighbors said the couple was having marital trouble and Megan Short planned to leave her husband and move to Yardley.
She and a neighbor, Angie Burke, exchanged comments on Facebook on a July 15 Washington Post opinion piece about emotional abuse in a marriage.
"Burke's Facebook account shows that Megan Short commented, 'It really does a number on your mental health for sure,' " the newspaper reported
"Short commented later, 'This is why I am leaving my marriage Angie. 16 years.' "
According to a 2015 report by the New York Times, Willow had a heart transplant when she was just a week old. The family struggled to get the drugs necessary to keep her from rejecting the new heart.
One month, Megan Short discovered that her pharmacy had mistakenly sent only enough medication for Willow for just 14 days, not the 30 she was supposed to receive, leaving the mother rattled.
"Every single month it seems like it's something," she told the Times.
In a "Philly at Heart" blog post in April, Megan Short wrote about her experience dealing with post traumatic stress disorder throughout her ordeal with Willow.
She wrote that she suffered from "anxiety and nightmares" triggered by smells, hallways or even the beeping sound of a phone.
On the website, which is devoted to families dealing with congenital heart issues, she also wrote that she experienced "survivor's guilt" when children with similar problems from other families passed away.
"I don't think PTSD ever truly goes away but, with therapy, medication, and the right support, I have begun to loosen its grip on me," she wrote. "As I work on my own mental healing, I wanted to share my experience so that other heart parents know they are not alone."
Staff writer Mari A. Schaefer contrubited to this article, which also contains information from the Associated Press.