The tragic story of Alexandre and his family

Last week, I worked on a complicated story about the murder-suicide of the Griffith family in Mapleton, Utah, late last year. This exclusive story raised a lot of questions about what you should reveal as a journalist and what is best kept private. I located the biological father of the alleged murderer, Timothy Griffith, and his ex-wife. The father shared the story of his son and his quest for answers. His son Timothy is accused of shooting and killing his wife Jessica, 16-year-old Samantha, his wife's daughter, and 5 year-old Alexandre, the son he had with Jessica. Timothy is also accused of shooting the family dog before committing suicide.

The Mapleton police department concluded that Jessica planned this murder-suicide with her husband. She thought she was dying from an imaginary cancer and the family's financial situation was dire. The police report was detailed and devastating for both parents, who had fled their financial problems in Switzerland according to people I interviewed for the story. Jessica made several claims to her husband, mother and brother about her childhood, that might help us explain why she was in such distress  in the days leading up to the murder-suicide.  For those who can read French, here is the story that ran last Sunday in Le Matin Dimanche, a major Sunday paper in Switzerland.