Mothers and Fathers Who Murder

Less than a week before the Benoit killings, New Jersey engineer Thomas Reilly and California businessman Kevin Morrissey each decided to kill their children and then themselves.

Reilly, 46, drowned his two young daughters, ages 5 and 6, in the bathtub of their Montclair, N.J., home before hanging himself from the attic rafters.

Morrissey, 51, shot his wife and two daughters in a parked car at a popular park near Berkeley, Calif., before turning his .357 handgun on himself.

Police investigating the deaths of Morrissey and his family said they found a note in which the 51-year-old father of two said he was distressed over the family's financial situation.

Morissey ran a skin care clinic with his wife, Dr. Mamiko Kawai, 40. The couple's two daughters were Nikki Morrissey, 8, and Kim Morrissey, 6.

Resnick, a psychiatry professor at Case Western Reserve University, said Morrissey may have been "severely depressed and believed his family was similarly miserable. He was ending the entire family's pain."

"Money is often an issue. The man sees himself as a breadwinner and may feel like he has to take the whole family out with him," Resnick said.

Police investigating the deaths of Reilly and his children, Megan, 5, and Kelly, 6, said they didn't yet know what motivated him to drown his daughters, but that he'd recently been separated from his wife.

"There are still many unanswered questions. The couple was separated, and he had visitation rights. The wife contacted police when she couldn't reach Reilly. There was no note, and the case is still under investigation," said Roger Terry, deputy chief of the Montclair Police Department.

Local, state and federal agencies do not specifically track familicides, and discrepancies in the way the crimes are classified make getting an accurate count difficult.

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