Authorities say it is an apparent murder suicide

By Diana Pearl
Updated December 26, 2015 12:50 PM
Advertisement
Image
Credit: Getty

In an apparent murder suicide, a New Jersey man shot and killed his wife and 8-year-old daughter before killing himself, authorities told NBC News.

At 7 p.m. on Christmas, the bodies of Michael Stasko, 53, his wife, Melissa, 49, and daughter Mellie, 8, were found in a luxury apartment building in Edgewater, New Jersey, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a press conference, according to The Record.

Melissa’s brother in Missouri called the town’s police after the three did not arrive in Lees Summit, Missouri, for the holidays and did not answer their cell phones.

Authorities told the New York Post that the mother and daughter were found in their pajamas, both with gunshot wounds in the back of their heads. Michael had been shot from under his chin.

Police also found a .45-caliber handgun with hollow-point bullets in the apartment.

The timing of the shootings and a motive has not yet been determined.

Molnelli said the killings may have occurred as early as Tuesday – Mellie’s 8th birthday.

“We don’t know whether it was financial, we don’t know whether it was familial, we don’t know really perhaps what was going through Mr. Stasko’s mind for him to do this,” he said.

The 17th floor of the family’s apartment building has been canvassed, but authorities have not been able to find someone who heard the gunshots.

The apartment, Molinelli said, was decorated for the holidays, including a Christmas tree with presents underneath.

“You see some cards and holiday cards,” he said. “It would appear from the 8-year-old’s standpoint she very much loved her father.”

In the press conference, Molinelli said the case is “troubling.”

“I’m doing this 14 years and whenever you see an 8-year-old lying in a bed and she’s dead, we try to find answers right away and we will try to find answers on this one,” Molinelli said. “It’s troubling.”