MAPLETON — Detectives investigating the November deaths of a Mapleton family of four are trying to determine if a terminal illness may have been a factor in the tragedy, and whether the incident was planned by the parents, according to court documents.
On Nov. 9, the bodies of Timothy Griffith, 45, his wife, Jessica Griffith, 42, his stepdaughter, Samantha Badel, 16, and his 5-year-old son, Alexandre, and a family dog were found dead in their home at 1502 N. U.S. 89. Police discovered the bodies while conducting a welfare check requested by a concerned neighbor who hadn't seen the family for a few days.
Mapleton police believe Timothy Griffith used two guns to shoot his family and then himself.
According to a search warrant affidavit unsealed Tuesday in 4th District Court, Griffith was found on the floor of the master bedroom with a shotgun close to him. On the bed in the same room were the bodies of Jessica and Alexandre, covered in blankets, the warrant states. Samantha's body was found in a bed in a basement bedroom.
Investigators searched the Griffiths' cellphones and other electronic devices, looking for clues as to what may have prompted the shooting. According to the warrant, several messages were discovered "indicating Jessica Griffith was sick and may not have had much longer to live."
Police also found "Google searches for ovarian cancer."
"In speaking to known family and friends, I learned that Jessica has suffered with depression," the investigator wrote in the warrant. "I also learned that Jessica and Timothy have been messaging about when this tragic incident would take place. I have also learned from family that Timothy Griffith was a violent person and may have also been suffering from mental illness."Comment on this story
Investigators were trying to independently verify the information about Jessica Griffith possibly having a terminal illness and Timothy Griffith having a mental illness by searching prescription histories of the couple, the warrant states. But according to the return to the warrant, detectives found "no prescription history for Jessica Griffith or Timothy Griffith for the past 10 years."
The family moved to Utah from Switzerland in July for Timothy Griffith's job.
Mapleton Police Chief John Jackson said Tuesday that he couldn't yet comment about the ongoing investigation, but he noted that a final report on the tragedy was expected to be completed soon.
Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24/7 by calling 800-897-LINK (5465), or by contacting the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition at udvc.org.