Family of four dead in murder-suicide

A man is suspected of having forcefully tied his wife up with adhesive tape and drugging his children before lighting charcoal, leading to the deaths of the family of four in Taichung City, yesterday, February 18.

Mr Wu, 32, his 34-year-old wife, nine-year-old son, and six-year-old daughter were found dead in a taxi parked in a mountainous area of Taiping District Monday morning.

Ms Wu had taken her two children to meet with her estranged husband to discuss her request for a divorce, and was reported missing by her family after failing to return by late evening, Sunday.

Ms Wu with her children left home yesterday to meet her estranged husband.

Members of the public reported seeing four people, apparently unconscious, in a taxi parked in a remote area on Beitian Road at around 8:00am Monday morning.

Firefighters attending to the report broke a window and found that the four people had no signs of life, and had obviously been dead for a long time.

Mr Wu, an unemployed computer graphics engineer, was sitting in the driver’s seat of his father’s taxi, Mrs Wu was in the front passenger seat with her hands bound in transparent adhesive tape, and the two children were lying in the back seat.

A charcoal brazier with burnt charcoal was found inside the taxi, and empty pill capsules were found scattered on the ground outside the car. Inside the car were empty beverage containers.

Prosecutors and forensics doctors who examined the bodies yesterday concluded that Ms Wu had put up a struggle before her death. Ms Wu had bruised elbows and scratches and bruises on her arms and hands, and there were obvious marks on her neck, Liberty Times reported.

There was no obvious trauma on the bodies of the children, and it is suspected that Mr Wu had given the children juice laced with medication to send them to sleep before lighting the charcoal.

Autopsies will be performed on Thursday, February 21, to confirm the causes of death.

The family was known to the Taichung City Social Affairs Bureau. On January 9, the nine-year-old boy was reported absent from school for several days. Social workers who visited the father, with whom the children lived, noted that the father appeared depressed, and kept the family under observation, making a total of four visits, and 17 phone checks, according to United Daily News.

Social workers also notified the suicide prevention center about Mr Wu’s depressed, and possibly suicidal, state.

Social workers concerned about the family’s financial situation provided an NT$8,000 cash donation and goods to help them tide over the Lunar New Year holiday, Apple Daily reported.

Ms Wu and her children. Picture: Facebook.

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Sources: Liberty Times, United Daily News, Apple Daily.

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