Michael Ireland is accused of killing his wife April and their three young children before taking his own life in their Vanceboro, NC home last week

The Irelands, a family of five, were found dead following a suspected murder-suicide in their Vanceboro, North Carolina home on January 24.

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In a press conference on Monday, Craven County sheriff Chip Hughes identified the victims as 39-year-old Michael, his wife 26-year-old April, and their three children, 4-year-old Michael Jason, 3-year-old Bryson Griffin, and 8-month-old Caroline Nicole. The family dog was also killed.

Hughes said that were no signs of a struggle in the home and that each person died of a single gunshot wound, and only Michael Ireland’s wound was self-inflicted. 

Autopsies were conducted on January 26, and Hughes said that they are still waiting for the final cause of death reports pending further testing.

Hughes says that the deaths occurred sometime between Wednesday and Friday.

Hughes said that to his knowledge, Craven County "has never experienced such a senseless loss of innocent lives in modern times."

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Neighbors reported hearing piercing screams from the home and Hughes said that the 911 center received a call for a welfare check at the family home. Deputies discovered the bodies when they arrived at the scene. 

ABC11 reported that Michael Ireland, who sometimes went by his middle name Jay, was preparing to bury his step-father who died following a battle with cancer last week. 

In August, April had launched a GoFundMe to help with medical and family expenses after Michael was in the ICU following a severe battle with depression and self-harm. $130 was raised of the $10,000 goal.

Jackie Tripp, Nicole's mother, is now appealing for financial assistance on Facebook for her daughter and grandchildren's funeral.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you are encouraged to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 in the US, or Pieta House in Ireland.

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