The bodies of Timothy Griffith, 45, his wife Jessica Griffith, 42, stepdaughter Samantha Badel, 16, and son Alexendre Griffith, 5, were found Thursday night inside their home in the northern city of Mapleton, police Chief John Jackson said. They moved to Utah in July after Timothy Griffith got a job there, he said.
Officers were called to the home around 9 p.m. after neighbors reported that the family had not been seen for days but the lights stayed on and their cars had not moved. One member of the family had not shown up to work for several days, Jackson said.
The officers received no answer at the front door, but they were concerned and removed a window to get inside. Officers then found the four bodies and a dead dog that also had been shot.
"As officers looked around the home they observed things that caused them concern," the chief told the Deseret News . "One of the things that caught their attention was neighbors had said they have a dog that when somebody knocks on the door is very aggressive and barks. They didn't get any of that."
Jackson said the position of the bodies inside the home led investigators to believe it was a murder suicide, but he declined to offer more information about the scene.
He did not offer details about what may have led to the killings or how they unfolded. Autopsies will be performed on the bodies to learn more about exactly what happened, he said.
The chief said the family had moved to the town a few months earlier, and police had not had any prior interactions with them.
The teenage girl had recently enrolled as a sophomore at Maple Mountain High School, and counselors had been made available to students and faculty, Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Mapleton, nestled against the mountains about 10 miles (16.09 kilometers) south of Provo, has a population of about 9,500.