NEWTON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary were stabbed to death, along with another family member, in what law enforcement officials said was probably a random attack as they urged community members to remain alert and vigilant in the small city outside Boston.
The bodies were found in a home in Newton when the couple failed to arrive at church Sunday morning, police said. Police worry that the killer or killers may be still at large.
“As we mourn the victims of this senseless, and violent tragedy we ask all members of our community to remain alert and vigilant,” the Newton Police Department tweeted on Monday.
The preliminary investigation indicates that there were signs of forced entry and that the victims were stabbed, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said Sunday evening.
“Two of the individuals were celebrating a golden wedding anniversary this weekend. As you can imagine, this would be tragic on any day. To have family gathered for this kind of a celebration makes it particularly tragic,” Ryan said.
There was an attempted break-in about a half-mile from the victims’ home early Sunday, but it’s unclear if the two crimes were related, Ryan said.
“That’s why we are concerned particularly about the safety issue,” Ryan told wcvb.com. “That’s why we are asking people if you hear something, you see something, don’t investigate yourself. Call the police department.”
Residents are also asked to check their doorbell cameras or home security systems for any video that could help with the investigation.
The news has rattled neighbors like Jack Porter.
“This is a safe neighborhood. You don’t have murders in Newton or Nonantum,” the neighborhood where they lived, he said.
“Their 50th anniversary was to be celebrated in a blessing after communion at the 10 a.m. Mass,” the Rev. Dan Riley, of Our Lady Help of Christians, told the news station. “I can’t go into the details about who discovered them — but we became notified, and myself and a number of the staff spent the day there.”
He described the three people killed as “three beloved parishioners — salt of the earth people, just great, great people.”