September 07, 2016 05:10 PM


That’s the word used again and again by the families of Aric Babbitt and Matthew Deyo, a Minnesota elementary school teacher and his husband found dead last week in an apparent murder-suicide – who police have accused as serial sexual abusers of children.

“We are devastated by the impact on the family of the victims that are affected by their reported actions,” Deyo’s father, Richard, tells PEOPLE.

His comments echo a joint statement issued by both families to PEOPLE, in which they say, “Our families want to express the sincere grief and sadness we are feeling for the innocent people affected by the actions of Aric Babbitt and Matthew Deyo.”

“We are devastated by the pain and suffering they have caused, and we pray for the healing of those families involved,” the statement concludes.

Deyo’s father says that he doesn’t want further attention called to either family, that this is about the victims. For that reason, he declined to say more.

Babbitt and Deyo were reportedly found dead on Aug. 25, on Lopez Island in Washington state, in what authorities tell PEOPLE is a likely murder-suicide.

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Aric Babbitt

According to court documents, apparently the couple left the area, with no further contact with friends or family, on Aug. 16.

That was the same day police searched their home in connection with a sex abuse investigation and two days after both men were accused of abuse by a teenage boy, according to the documents. The documents also allege the couple serially abused minors using the same methods: Give them alcohol and marijuana and abuse them when they were intoxicated.

Though it’s unclear how many victims have come forward, Babbitt and Deyo have been accused by multiple teenagers of sexual abuse, including rape, according to the documents. Police and the school district say they are investigating.

Before disappearing that Tuesday, the couple visited a relative and asked to borrow a gun because they said they were going camping and wanted protection from bears, according to the documents.

Kayakers found their bodies on in a common use area on Lopez Island, authorities tell PEOPLE. Deyo shot Babbitt before killing himself, as “agreed upon,” says San Juan County Undersheriff Brent Johnson.

Johnson also says the couple left an “in-depth” suicide note at the scene and sent a similar one back to their families in the mail.

“It was very clear that it was a suicide note and they mention a number of different topics in the note,” Johnson says.

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