Mom of 3 planned to leave husband on day of alleged murder suicide

Four-month-old Willow Short, centre, along with her parents Megan and Mark and sister Liana, 6, and brother Mark, 3, pose for a photo in Sinking Spring, Pa. in 2014. The couple were featured in news stories about their difficulties getting medication for Willow, who had a heart transplant six days after she was born.             Four-month-old Willow Short, centre, along with her parents Megan and Mark and sister Liana, 6, and brother Mark, 3, pose for a photo in Sinking Spring, Pa. in 2014. The couple were featured in news stories about their difficulties getting medication for Willow, who had a heart transplant six days after she was born. (Susan L. Angstadt/Reading Eagle/Associated Press)

A Pennsylvania woman found dead alongside her husband and three children in an apparent murder-suicide had told friends on social media that she planned to leave him.

Megan Short alleged abuse and posted on Facebook that she needed help moving out of the family’s Sinking Spring, Pa., home Saturday, the day authorities discovered the family shot dead, the Reading Eaglereported. A neighbour, Angie Burke, told the newspaper she saw the post about a week ago.

Short and her husband, Mark Short Sr., had been featured in news stories about their difficulties getting medication for a daughter who had a heart transplant. The girl, two-year-old Willow, and her siblings, eight-year-old Lianna and five-year-old Mark Jr., were found shot to death near their parents.

Police found the five bodies in the living room after they went to check on the welfare of the family after receiving a call from a relative concerned that the woman had not shown up for a lunch date. A dog was also found dead.

Police also found a handwritten letter that “appeared to be a ‘murder-suicide’ note” and a handgun near one of the adults, the district attorney’s office said. The couple had been having “domestic issues,” district attorney John Adams said.

Survivor’s guilt

Authorities have yet to identify the suspected shooter. Investigators scheduled a Monday afternoon autopsy for Mark Short and are conducting forensic analysis of evidence taken from the scene.

In an April 13 post on Philly at Heart, a website devoted to families dealing with congenital heart issues, Megan Short 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.

“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 said. “As I work on my own mental healing, I wanted to share my experience so that other heart parents know they are not alone.”

Burke told the newspaper that she and Megan Short stayed in contact through Facebook. She said Short commented on a link to an online article about abuse, then wrote that she planned to leave her marriage after 16 years.

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