A few days after Christmas, a member of Karina Clark’s church dropped off some presents on Clark’s doorstep.
On Monday, she saw the packages hadn’t been moved after several days, which set off alarm bells. The woman called police to stop by the home for a welfare check. As KUTV reports, police made a chilling discovery inside.
They said they found both Clark and her 9-year-old daughter, Madison, dead.
It appeared that the 41-year-old Utah mother shot and killed her child then turned the gun on herself.
As Fox 13 reports, Madison’s oldest brother, Gibson Clark, said there was a history of trouble in the home, admitting he distanced himself from his mom, whom he explained would get violent at times:
“My mom was really troubled. We all grew up with her and we called child protective services on her quite a bit.”
According to KUTV, after officials found the bodies, Lt. Brian Lohrke with Unified Police Department said in a press conference:
“We’re not going to release how many [gunshots] or any of that. It’s a little too graphic. It’s a tragic situation involving this 9-year-old daughter that was killed by her mother who obviously suffered some mental issues that tragically plague our society nowadays.”
Gibson Clark has two other grown siblings who have moved out of the home; Madison was the only child living with her mom. And as he admitted to Fox 13, “I think there was stuff going on in the house that we didn’t know about.”
Aside from mental health problems, medication was also part of the mother’s life, according to KUTV.
Neighbor Ben Cummins said Clark lost over 100 pounds from gastric bypass surgery recently. She was put on pain medication after her surgery, which Lt. Lohrke confirmed.
Cummins said the mother had talked to him about the pain meds:
“She talks about her pain medicine, that she didn’t like taking it. She was cutting back because she didn’t’ want to feel like she was being controlled by something,”
The neighbor added the family’s murder-suicide shocked him, especially since Clark had a lot of friends and she spent a lot of time attending events with 9-year-old Madison:
“It’s just sad. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. just can’t see something like this happening, her doing something like that and taking her daughter’s life, as well.”
Fox 13 reports that police believe the tragic deaths may have happened between one to three weeks before the mother and daughter were found, but the investigation is ongoing.
“This is one of the situations where we’re just kind of left in the dust right now, trying to figure out why the mom had a need to kill her 9-year-old daughter.”
He urged people to watch for signs of mental illness:
“Just be aware of those around you, your loved ones, whether it’s overt red flags or those silent cries for help.”
If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide and/or needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.
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