The family of a Pennsylvania 10- and 13-year-old who were apparently killed by their father in a murder-suicide is mourning their loss.
“This was very unexpected and tragic and no one saw it coming,” Madison and Zachary Zimmer’s sister wrote on a GoFundMe page. “They were the most outgoing and playful kids I have ever met. They were only 10 and 13 and had so much life to live.”
The siblings were discovered dead in their father’s Greene Township home Tuesday afternoon, Erie News Now reports. State police told reporters at the scene that firefighters responded to Richard Zimmer’s home shortly after 2 p.m. Upon, arrival they found a house fire and three bodies inside.
Zimmer is believed to have shot his children before setting the house on fire and killing himself, WJET reports.
According to court documents, the 48-year-old and the children’s mother were in the midst of a bitter divorce. On the morning of the murders, Zimmer was scheduled to appear in court for a custody hearing but never showed up, the Erie Times-News reports. That’s when the children’s family became worried. They went to Zimmer’s home and saw smoke.
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Both Madison and Zachary attended Wattsburg Elementary Center in Wattsburg, Pa.
Zachary loved running, playing video games with his friends and collecting Pokémon cards. “He had a very kind, compassionate temperament, and had a gift for making friends with anyone he met,” his online obituary states.
“Madison was also very protective and loving to her brother, Zachary, who died with her. She would affectionately call him ‘Bubby,’ ” her obituary states. “She will be remembered for her very empathetic and loving nature.”