A Louisiana sheriff says he received a disturbing message from a man who law enforcement officials later found dead along with the bodies of his wife and children.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said he received a call from Tim Ragas on the sheriff department’s 911 message system early Thursday morning, warning him about a grim scene ahead at the home.
‘We can’t continue to live like this,’ Lopinto said, sharing the message. ‘You’ll find four bodies when you get here.’
Upon their arrival at the Harvey, Louisiana home where the call came from, officers found the bodies of 43-year-old Tim Ragas, 45-year-old Joanna Ragas, her 20-year-old son Eric Thorneblom and their special needs son, 13-year-old Timothy Ragas.
Officials said they found a note and weapons and believe the group was killed in what appears to be a ‘murder suicide,’ according to WWL.
Inside a Louisiana home, officers found the bodies of Tim Ragas, Joanna Ragas, Eric Thorneblom and their special-needs son Timothy Ragas
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said he received a call from a resident warning him that law enforcement officials would find bodies when they got to a local home
45-year-old Joanna Ragas and her sons Eric Thorneblom (left) Timothy Ragas (right) were confirmed as three of the four bodies found inside the home
In a press conference, Lopinto confirmed the group died from gunshot wounds.
The sheriff clarified, however, that it is unclear at this time if there was more than one shooter.
‘Some of the information could make me believe that maybe they decided to do this together from the parents – the mother and father,’ Lopinto said.
‘But I’m going to let the coroner’s office make that determination,’ he continued.
It’s unclear why the message from the man went to an answering machine for the local agency.
Lopinto also told local outlets the man at one point worked as a law enforcement officer.
He would not share where the man had been employed, only telling reporters it was not Jefferson Parish and that his employment was ‘years ago.’
Jefferson Parish is a city located on the Bayou Rigolettes and is about 30 minutes outside of New Orleans.
This was the scene at the home in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana on Thursday
Relatives told WWL they believe it was a combination of depression, family medical issues and financial problems that may have led to this ending
‘Some of the information could make me believe that maybe they decided to do this together from the parents – the mother and father,’ Lopinto said
After the family’s bodies were found, relatives came forward to offer up an explanation.
They told WWL they believe it was a combination of depression, family medical issues and financial problems that may have led to this ending.
‘He wasn’t working the last, almost three years,’ Ragas’ sister-in-law said.
‘He did get a job recently and he had to lose it because (Joanna) was having medical issues and they had an autistic son and (Tim) had to be here to take care of him because he wasn’t socially where a lot of people could take care of him,’ the family member continued.
The man’s family also said they were helping out but they didn’t know just how bad the situation was.
‘Depression, it’s terrible,’ said Ragas’ sister-in-law.
‘He couldn’t pull himself out of the depression and medically she was going through things.’
Sherriff Lopinto said: ‘It looks like financial problems and stuff have left a destitute situation, and they took it into their own hands unfortunately this morning.’
This was the scene outside of the Louisiana home Thursday after the bodies were found
WWL spoke with Dr. Reggie Parquet who works at Tulane’s school of social work and he told the outlet anyone suffering from depression or severe financial pressure should seek immediate help.
‘It creates a level of stress, it creates a level of pressure, it creates a level of depression if they don’t have the resources to cope with those things, or the financial resources to help with their needs, poor outcomes can happen,’ Dr. Parquet said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family cover funeral expenses.
As of February 10, the page has raised more than double its intended $4,000 goal.