How One Mother's Money Troubles Led To A Tragic Murder-Suicide
Her suicide letters revealed her motivations.
Many parents struggle with the costs of providing for their family. This mother became so overwhelmed and desperate that she ended up killing her husband and son in an alleged murder-suicide.
In September 2017, 35-year-old Stephanie Hoover allegedly killed her 38-year-old husband Rob Hoover and their 7-year-old son Zachary Hoover with a handgun before turning the gun on herself. Police found their bodies shortly after, Newshub reports.
Their three other children, ages 10, 7, and 1, were unharmed.
She had been planning this for two months
Days before the murder-suicide, Ms Hoover asked her husband to update their will so that her parents would be the legal guardians of their children if anything were to happen to them.
Then, she bought a gun.
She dropped off her youngest child at her parents’ house. Then she took two of her kids to school the next morning but left their 7-year-old son Zachary at home.
When she returned home, she shot her husband three times in the kitchen. Zachary was on the couch playing a game, wearing headphones when she shot him four times.
Then Ms Hoover packed up some items for her other children then drove to her mother’s house, leaving the family van in the driveway.
She walked home, messaged her mother to call 911, then shot herself.
Why would she do such a thing?
Why would a mother kill her husband and son, then herself? Police recovered suicide letters that partly explained Ms Hoover’s actions.
In a 19-page letter addressed to her parents, Ms Hoover wrote that she had been embezzling money from her employer, Southridge Healthcare, since 2014. She had stolen around US$80,000 (approximately S$107,000) all in all.
“I know it’s a lot and didn’t go to anything extravagant. We financed our cars & camper and vacations and furniture were paid by tax returns and house sale. It’s just amazing how fast money flies out of the account for bills and other expenses,” she wrote.
“I’ve never been able to find a balance — I work more and have to pay more daycare. I work less and don’t have enough money.”
She was afraid of being sent to prison after an upcoming audit. She wrote that her husband couldn’t take care of the kids alone, let alone provide for them. “They’d lose the house and have nothing,” she wrote.
Her son Zachary had behavioural issues, and she wrote that she would be able to take care of him better in heaven.
“The kids will be in pain (and so will you) but it WILL get better! It has to! Do NOT let this pain darken the rest of your life and theirs!
“Please don’t let them know what I’ve done if possible, or try to explain. I’m not a monster. I just wanted my kids to be cared for and loved.
“I’m sorry for what this does to you guys. You gave us everything I had the perfect family, house, everything and I ruined it all. I pray that you can forgive me.”
Emergency and support helplines
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800 211 4444
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800 283 7019
- CHAT @ *SCAPE: (+65) 6493 6500; (+65) 6493 6501
- SAF Counselling Hotline: 1800 278 0022
- Hopeline: 0917 558 4673; (02) 804 4673
- Crisis Line Philippines: (02) 893 7606; (02) 693 7603
- Living Free Foundation: +63917 322 7807
- Manila Lifeline Centre: (02) 896 9191
- Befrienders Malacca: (06) 284 2500
- Befrienders Penang: (04) 281 5161; (04) 281 1108
- Befrienders Kuala Lumpur: (03) 7956 8144; (03) 7956 8145
- Befrienders Seremban: (06) 765 3588; (06) 765 3589
- Malaysian Mental Health Association: (03) 7782 5499
- Lifeline Association of Malaysia: (063) 92850039; (063) 92850279; (063) 92850049
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