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Tragic murder-suicide doesn’t have to be a blot on borough: Editorial

Posted 1/9/19

What happened last week right here in the heart of Middletown won’t soon be forgotten.

It’s a tragedy — and that’s not a term that should be used lightly.

Three people …

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Tragic murder-suicide doesn’t have to be a blot on borough: Editorial

Posted

What happened last week right here in the heart of Middletown won’t soon be forgotten.

It’s a tragedy — and that’s not a term that should be used lightly.

Three people are dead, including a 7-year-old boy.

We might never know exactly why Marvin Caddell killed his estranged wife, Nightflower Staats, and then their 7-year-old son before turning the gun on himself, as Middletown police and District Attorney Fran Chardo say occurred in an apartment at 134 S. Union St.

Police called it a “domestic incident” on their Crimewatch webpage. The couple apparently had split up. More details might come out as to why the double murder-suicide took place — but they might not. 

Regardless, there is no one to charge with a crime, only three lives to mourn.

We are fortunate in Middletown. We have our share of crime. But the violent kind avoids us for the most part. Shootings are most definitely rare.

Many believe this horrific incident has put the borough in a bad light. In the short term, it probably has. Headlines and television stories about what happened likely will stick in the back of many people’s minds. The fact that the three people were short-term residents of the area should make no difference in the tragedy that occurred. It doesn’t change the impact of their deaths just because they didn’t grow up here and they likely were less well-known in the community than long-term residents would be.

Make no mistake: What happened here last week could happen anywhere. In fact, it does happen everywhere. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website states that, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.

Further, 72 percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner, and 94 percent of the victims of these murder-suicides are female, according to the group.

Should something like this put Middletown in a negative light in and of itself? No. There is no evidence at this point that this tragedy could have been prevented. This isn’t some random act of violence in the streets, either. The public was likely never in danger during this tragedy.

We prefer to take the attitude of George Crist, who owns the building where the grisly event took place.

He has owned the building for more than four years, and he said there is much being done to “try and improve this part of Middletown,” and that residents should be proud.

He has organized a vigil at 7 p.m. Wednesday in front of the apartment building. He will have coffee, hot chocolate and soup for anyone who attends.

“If a lot of people come out to celebrate this family, that is going to be a good problem. That would be all right,” he said. “There’s a way to build a stronger community in all of this.”

Let’s hope so. Tragedy can bring a community together.

Attend Wednesday’s vigil. Remember those who died, even the person who allegedly pulled the trigger. This is a family who was wiped out. Their family members are mourning.

This tragedy doesn’t have be a blot on Middletown. Let’s show those from outside our area that events like this can bring us together.