The sister of a woman who was killed along with her mother and two young children — allegedly by her husband — says the family is devastated by the slayings and may never know why they occurred.
Debra Stone Sochat read an emotional statement Tuesday at the Parish of the Epiphany church in Winchester, where the family is establishing a foundation for a church preschool to honor her sister's children.
"Everyone asks, `Why did it happen?' ... The truth is, we don't know and we may never know," said Sochat, as her husband, David, placed his hand on her shoulder. "Like so many, we are left asking the same question."
Police found the bloodied bodies of Laura Stone Mortimer, her two children --- 2-year-old Charlotte and 4-year-old Thomas "Finn" Mortimer V — and her mother, Ellen Stone, in their Winchester home on June 15.
Thomas Mortimer IV, Mortimer's husband and the father of the children, was arrested a day later. He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, and his lawyer said mental health will be a "live issue" in the case.
Sochat, who called police on the day the bodies were found when she could not reach her mother and sister, said she and her mother usually spent time together every day, planting flowers, working on crafts or just hanging out. She said her mother took pleasure in doing things for others.
Sochat said her sister "embraced life with an energy few can muster" and that she lived for her family. Sochat recalled a lunch that she, Laura and their daughters enjoyed a few days before the killings. She said she and Laura had dreamed the girls, who were born two weeks apart, would share the same close relationship they did.
Her nephew, known as Finn, was a bright boy who had compassion for others, Sochat said, and "always made sure no one was left out."
District Attorney Gerard Leone has said the slayings followed a fight and "ongoing marital discord." Leone said there were signs of attempted suicide at the home, and two identical letters, believed to have been confessions written by Thomas Mortimer, were left behind.
Thomas Mortimer, who grew up in Avon, Conn., had recently landed at a Burlington, Mass., technology consulting company, after several months of unemployment. Laura Mortimer was a senior economist with a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate company. Officers found Finn and his mother lying in a pool of blood in the first-floor hallway. The grandmother's body was nearby covered with an oriental rug, and a trail of blood led to an upstairs crib, where they found Charlotte dead.
All appeared to have been killed by blunt trauma and sharp objects, Leone said.
"Last week we lost four incredible souls, and nothing will ever completely absorb the pain that this tragedy has left behind," Sochat said. "But we will always know that we were blessed to have them in our lives."
The family displayed photos of Laura Stone Mortimer, Ellen Stone and the two children from different events. One photo showed Laura Stone Mortimer on her wedding day.
None of the photos included Thomas Mortimer.
This program aired on June 23, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.