If not for the murders of the Amish schoolgirls last fall, these might have been the most disturbing homicides Lancaster County, Pa., has ever seen.
Two weeks ago, a young woman woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a scuffle in her home on a quiet street in the idyllic Blossom Hill section of the county.
She went to her parents' upstairs bedroom and found both stabbed repeatedly. Down the hall, unseen, her younger brother was dying of similar stab wounds.
"Go get help," her mother whispered.
The daughter ran across the street and called 911, but by the time ambulances arrived, all three victims were dead.
Police have no clear suspects and are reminding residents to lock their doors at night and keep as many lights on as possible. They have asked the FBI for assistance.
The county coroner is suggesting a "psychotic killer" may be on the loose.
And so once again, the postcard-perfect farmland communities of Lancaster -- the bucolic home of the agrarian Amish -- are steeped in shock, grief and fear.
At a church memorial service Saturday, a relative of the murdered couple raised the troubling question that was on many people's minds when he implored the killer to come forward and seek forgiveness.
"I say this to you, knowing that the killer of our loved ones might be in the audience today," Tom Brown told congregants from the pulpit of the Otterbein United Methodist Church last Saturday, according to the Lancaster Sunday News.
On May 12, 20-year-old Bucknell University student Margaret Haines woke up to the sounds of a commotion in her home on Peach Lane and got out of bed to investigate. She went to her parents' upstairs bedroom and found her father lying on the bed and her mother sitting on its edge.
Her mother was able to calmly tell her daughter to leave and get help, authorities said. She reportedly didn't see her brother's body lying in the hallway. All three died of stab wounds, according to the Manheim Township police. They said the back door was open and there were no signs of forced entry.
Manheim Township Police Sgt. Thomas Rudzinski said Thursday that they have not turned up any evidence that would indicate that anybody wanted to hurt Thomas Haines, 50, a salesman at a local industrial supply company, his wife Lisa, 47, a preschool teacher, or their 16-year-old son Kevin.
"He was about to become an Eagle Scout," Rudzinski said ruefully. "He was a good kid."
He said the murder weapon has not been located.
"At this point we are looking at all options," Rudzinski said. "We don't know if this is random or targeted."
Lisa Haines' nephew Lucas Brown told ABC News that his family is coping as best they can.
"It's been OK now, after the funeral and everything's gotten over with, it's starting to get a little better," he said. "But it's still a little scary, knowing he's still out there."
Remarkable bursts of murder have haunted Lancaster County in recent years.
The county made national headlines in 2005 when a teenager ambushed and murdered Michael and Cathryn Borden in their home in Lititz and kidnapped their 14-year-old daughter Kara Beth. An amber alert was issued as word spread quickly through the county. It was later determined that David Ludwig, 18, Kara Beth's boyfriend, had killed the parents because they'd ordered him to stop seeing their daughter. Ludwig pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal homicide and is serving a life sentence.