Man Suspected of Killing Daughter & 6 Grandkids Before His Own Suicide

Six small children, a mom, and a grandfather are all dead tonight after a horrific suspected murder-suicide in North Florida. Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz held a news conference on Thursday, and said that 51-year-old alleged suicide victim Don Spirit was the only suspect in the deaths of his daughter and her six children.

The kids ranged in age from newborn to 11 years, making the crime all the more abominable. Their mom, Sarah Lorraine Spirit was just 28. The elder Spirit's grandchildren were identified as Alanna Stewart, 2½ months, Brandon Stewart, 4, Destiny Stewart, 5, Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8, Kylie Kuhlmann, 9, and Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11. They lived in the small town of Bell, Florida.


Police received a 911 call from Spirit around 4 P.M. on Thursday, and made contact with him before he turned the gun on himself. Police found the seven other bodies upon searching the residence, and they believe they were all dead before they even got there.

Schultz said it wasn't the first time officers from his department had been called out there. In fact, he said they'd "been out to that residence on numerous law enforcement occasions."

Records show that Don Spirit has a criminal record going back at least 22 years. in 1992, he was convicted of battery, and he has 1994 charge for possession of drug paraphernalia. In 1995, he was convicted of "depriving a child of food and shelter, and in 2003 was convicted for "possession of a firearm by a convicted felon."

At the time of the weapons charge, Spirit plead guilty after her accidentally shot and killed his 8-year-old son while they were hunting.

There is no known motive for the killings.

The town of Bell only has about 350 people, and Schultz said the community will be "devastated" by this. "I haven't handled something like this at all," he said. "And to say this community is not going to be devastated by this -- for a small county, we're all family here. There's certain things in life you can explain. There's some things you can't. This is something you can't explain ..."

"We'll get through this," he said. "I will continue to ask everybody to pray for the families."

How would you react if something like this happened in your community?

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Image via Florida Department of Corrections

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