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Herndon Family ID'd In Apparent Murder-Suicide | News

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Herndon Family ID'd In Apparent Murder-Suicide

HERNDON, VA (WUSA) -  Police have  confirmed the names of the Herndon family found dead on Tuesday.

The couple  have been identified as Kathie Peterson, 52, and Albert Peterson, 57, and sons Matthew, 16 and Christopher, 13.

The preliminary investigation indicates that Albert Peterson killed his wife and their children before taking his own life. The state Office of the Medical Examiner determined the cause of death for each of the deceased to be gunshot wounds to the upper body. 

Crisis counselors are available for parents, staff and students at Westfield High School, where Matthew Peterson was a 10th grader, and Rachel Carson Middle School, where Christopher Peterson was in 8th grade.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Floris United Methodist Church, 13600 Frying Pan Road, starting at 7:30 p.m. The Petersons had worshipped at church.

A neighbor of the family told 9News's Peggy Fox that Albert Peterson was a conspiracy theorist.

Another neighbor said that the entire Peterson family was "extremely nice," and that when the neighbor's son was born with autism, the Petersons continued to invite the family to spend time with them.

WNEW reports that neighbors and colleagues of the family told authorities they had not seen the children going to school or the parents going to work recently.

According to WNEW, neighbor Alvaro Lopes, says Albert Peterson suffered a heart attack several years ago, and Lopes believes the medication the man was taking changed his personality.

"He seemed dizzy... just different," Lopes said. "Hearing about what happened today made me think that could have something to do with it."
Lopes also claims the man's father previously committed suicide.

The family recently completed building a deck and showed no outward signs of trouble.

Peggy Fox reports that at about 3 p.m. police removed the crime scene tape and packed up what was left of the crime scene. The family cars - Albert Peterson's large Ford 350 pickup truck, and Kathie Peterson's minivan- are still parked at the home.