Official: Friendly Persona For Saco Abuser Not Unusual

Updated 2 months ago

SACO, Maine (AP) — Friends and neighbors were stunned to learn that a maintenance worker who always presented a friendly face had killed his wife and three children before taking his own life.

But Emily Gormley from Caring Unlimited, which is York County’s domestic violence program, said it doesn’t come as a surprise that there were no outward signs. She says the scenario of a boyfriend or husband who charms outsiders while concealing what’s really happening at home is not uncommon in domestic violence cases.

Investigators say Joel Smith used a shotgun to kill his family and himself Saturday in Saco.

Police said there’s no evidence that the family reached out for help, and Gormley couldn’t comment on whether her agency was contacted. Caring Unlimited gets about 300 calls a month to its hotline.


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