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Family of Four Dead After Murder-Suicide

By: Mike Johnson
By: Mike Johnson

Hillsboro, WI in Vernon County is in mourning over the deaths of four people, all from the same family.

Police have a good idea of what happened, but nobody knows for sure why, as a father and husband apparently kills his family and then kills himself.

The Ganshert home is surrounded by crime tape; inside three members of a family were found dead.

"There was no sign of a type of a struggle. There was no sign of bodies being moved. They were found in a position where one would normally assume they were sleeping," says Vernon County Sheriff Gene Cary.

Thirty-six year old Mary Ganshert and her two young children, 14-year-old Troy Klein, Jr. and five-year-old Mandi Ganshert, all shot to death, apparently by 42-year-old Joseph Ganshert.

Police say he left two notes at the house, and two more at his sister's house 100 miles to the south in Gratiot, before apparently killing himself.

In this town of less than 1,400, neighbors know each other, and they came to see the crime scene and try to comprehend the tragedy.

"You don't think something like this can happen," says Mark Sullivan.

Sullivan lives across the street. Now he'll have to figure a way to explain it to his seven-year-old daughter, a first grader in the school the youngest victim attended.

"I'll tell her she won't be coming back, sick in the head. That's all we can imagine," he says.

Police say the note left by Joseph Ganshert said "God asked me to bring my family to heaven." It also outlined funeral arrangements.

"To try and comprehend and understand a five-year-old being shot by a biological parent just defies all logic."

Mandi was in kindergarten and Troy, a freshman in high school. And the bad news spread fast.

"It's very traumatic and of course some of the kids I think knew about it, some of the older kids at the high school knew about it when they came to school, and lot of them were hugging each other," says Supt. Scott Peterson.

Neighbors say there was no warning, and none mentioned any family problems.

"You feel bad about the kids; you see them walk home from school."

Police say the gun Joseph Ganshert apparently used on himself will be tested to be sure it is the gun that killed his family.


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