Slain Mother Had Blogged That Husband Under Stress

By: Alex Dominguez AP
By: Alex Dominguez AP

MIDDLETOWN, Md. (AP) - A man who killed his wife, their three young children and himself in their northwest Maryland home had a hard time adjusting to his new manager's job for a railroad and it was causing him stress, according a blog entry his wife posted last month.

The children's grandfather discovered the murder-suicide Saturday when he went to check on the family at their Middletown home, authorities said. Francis Billotti Wood, 33, and her children suffered "traumatic cuts" and each had at least one wound from a .25-caliber handgun, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said. Her husband, 34-year-old Christopher Alan Wood, was found at the foot of his bed, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Francis Wood grew up in the Middletown area and the family moved
back last year. Her husband had been transferred from Jacksonville,
Fla., for work as an account manager in the sales and marketing group at CSX Corp. in Baltimore, a company spokesman said. In a blog under her name and photo that she appears to have started in 2006, she said she thrived on the excitement that change brings, but he didn't handle it as well as she did.

"Chris is trying to adjust but he is having a hard time with the new job which makes him more of a major player at work," a March 16 entry read.

She also said she knew he worried that his traveling for the job would keep him away from the children too much. "But I think we should focus on Quality over Quantity," she wrote.

On Sunday, members of Holy Family Catholic Community Church, which Francis Wood's parents helped found, remembered her as someone deeply involved in the parish, teaching catechism and volunteering in the nursery.

The Rev. Kevin Farmer said Wood was "the kind of parishioner I would wish for."

Authorities found the couple's two sons, ages 5 and 4, dead in their beds, and the bodies of their 2-year-old daughter and Francis Wood were in the master bedroom, Frederick County sheriff's office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said. On the master bedroom floor was
Christopher Wood's body, she said.

Sheriff Jenkins said Wood left behind five notes before fatally shooting himself, including an apology to family members and hints that he suffered from psychiatric problems. The sheriff also said there was evidence that Wood faced financial problems.

Francis Wood wrote in the blog that her husband needed to get out of his comfort zone, but it was causing him stress.

Her last posting, dated April 1, said: "I am thinking that Chris and I will never agree on a new house to buy." She also talks about being blessed to be able to stay at home with her children and that she could give back to the community.

Joe Parker, 64, whose daughter and Francis Wood went to school together and were members of the Girl Scouts, said he wonders if
there was more he could have done to prevent the deaths.

"We need to be more involved in other people's lives and we're not," Parker said.

Neighbors placed stuffed animals, balloons and flowers along the porch railing on the Woods' yellow two-story home.

Randel Edwards, 50, placed a handwritten sign that said: "Billotti and Wood families. We love you and hold you in our prayers. Your loved ones are greatly missed. May heaven dry your tears."

Edwards said he hoped some good would come out of the tragedy and lead those who are "experiencing difficulties" to realize "that there are people that want to help."

Next-door neighbor Pat Hendricks said the family moved into the rented house in January and that there were no signs of trouble.

"There were no red flags. They were a very loving family," she said.

Associated Press Writer Gillian Gaynair in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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