BRIGHAM CITY — Police say a 16-year-old girl was shot to death by her stepfather in an apparent murder-suicide Tuesday night.
The mother of Alix Norman returned home and found her daughter dead in the basement of the house, 545 N. 100 East, and called police about 5:30 p.m.
Police found the girl's stepfather, 45-year-old Michael Woodruff, dead in a different room with a .40-caliber handgun near his body. They believe he shot the girl and then turned the gun on himself, Brigham City Police Lt. Michael Nelson said.
The family's dog was also shot and killed.
Investigators are still unclear about a motive for the killing, as there was no note and few clues in the home. The girl's mother was unaware Woodruff even owned a gun, Nelson said, and police were unaware of any domestic problems.
"The relationship between the stepfather and the daughter was doing quite well," Nelson said after talking to relatives of the family. "Everybody was just in total shock."
No one else lived in the house, he said.
The state medical examiner will conduct an autopsy on both bodies, as well as run a toxicology screening, Nelson said.
Rhonda Long, a neighbor, said in the year since she moved to that area she recalls seeing the family riding bikes and running together.Comment on this story
"I didn't expect anything like that from anybody, especially that family," she said. "They just seemed like really wholesome, nice people."
Long said her boyfriend heard the dog barking earlier in the day, as well as a few popping sounds "like from a nail gun," but never suspected anything was wrong. He assumed Woodruff was doing some work around the house, which is partially under construction.
Neighbor Jennifer Long said the neighborhood was shocked by the killing. They had never seen Woodruff act violently toward anyone. She described the family as quiet and kind.