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Mapleton father, mother conspired to kill family, report concludes

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Apr 18th, 2018 @ 10:27pm


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MAPLETON — In November, when the Griffith family and their dog was found dead in their Mapleton home, neighbors used phrases like "never heard them fight," and "never heard a thing over there."

But as police dug deeper into the tragic triple murder-suicide, they discovered a history of abuse, alcohol, drugs and financial issues surrounding the parents, Timothy Griffith, 45, his wife, Jessica Griffith, 43.

They also discovered that Jessica Griffith likely suffered from ovarian cancer.

After six months of investigation, Mapleton police released a final 55-page report Wednesday on the deaths of the Griffith family.

"It was found that this incident was planned by the 45-year-old male and his wife," the report concludes, but adds that the wife made efforts to hide her involvement.

All emails, texts and communication between the Griffiths stopped on Nov. 6, 2017. Three days later, the couple's bodies, along with her 16-year-old daughter, Samantha Badel, and their 5-year-old son, Alexandre David Griffith, were found inside their home at 1502 N. state Route 89. Police discovered the deaths while conducting a welfare check after a concerned neighbor said the family had not been seen for a few days.

Timothy Griffith was found dead on the floor of an upstairs bedroom "with a shotgun between his legs." The bodies of his wife and son were on a nearby bed covered with blankets, the report states. The mother's arm was wrapped around her son and a pillow covered both their heads.

"It appeared that several shots were fired through the pillow," the report states.

Jessica Griffith was shot once, but Alexandre was shot four times, according to the report. On the floor, the family's German Shepherd was found shot to death and covered with a towel.

The body of Samantha was discovered in the bed of her basement bedroom, also covered in blankets. She was shot twice, according to the report.

Autopsies revealed that the children had a chemical typically found in allergy or sleep medication, the report states. Investigators also found lots of empty packets of sleeping pills and hot chocolate mix.

Investigators learned that the couple had met in Switzerland, each being involved in prior marriages that reportedly ended poorly. They moved to Mapleton in July. Timothy Griffith worked for the Nestle company in Springville.

A friend told detectives that the house "seemed like a hotel because everyone would always just go to their own rooms," and noted that Samantha, in particular, spent a lot of time in her room.

Most of the Griffiths' text messages to each other and journals were written in French. The texts and the Google search histories of Timothy and Jessica Griffith pointed to troubled pasts by both, as well as a cooperative effort to carry out the murder-suicide, the report states.

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In a text to her husband in October 2016, Jessica Griffith mentioned two illnesses.

"I have found multiple text messages from Jessica to Timothy about not feeling well and having headaches. Timothy suggested that Jessica go to a doctor. In Jessica's replies she seems adamant about not going to see any more doctors," an investigator wrote later in the report.

On Oct. 30, 2017, Jessica Griffith sent an email to her husband that included a link to a Swiss ovarian cancer website, the report states. She also sent an email to her daughter from her previous marriage asking for forgiveness for abandoning her.

In the days leading up to the murder-suicide, the couple exchanged a series of texts that seemed to talk about their plan, her illness and his infidelity, the report states.

"My head and stomach really hurt now. We will never be separated and love for eternity," the woman wrote in a text on Oct. 25.

"Don't have to worry about paying bills," the man said in a text on Nov. 2.

In another text on Nov. 3, the two talk about Timothy Griffith exchanging sexually explicit messages and pictures with women on Craigslist. "Yes I'm sad. … I see the woman I love dying before my eyes … telling me to go with someone else," he wrote, according to the report.

The Griffiths also talk about when to carry out their plan, wondering whether to do it right after Thanksgiving or on Christmas Day.

Police also noted the web search histories of Timothy and Jessica Griffith. He began searching for guns and rifles on the web as early as July of 2017, the report states. On Oct. 25, some of Griffiths' searches included questions about shooting people.

Jessica Griffith's web searches included many ovarian cancer references, in addition to "man who kills family," the report states.

Know the warning signs

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The following are warning signs of immediate risk. Call 911 if you or someone you know is experiencing the following:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill themself or talking of wanting to hurt or kill themself
  • Looking for ways to kill themself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary

    Additional Warning Signs:

  • Increased substance use
  • No reason for living, no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Feeling trapped — like there's no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes

    Courtesy of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition

  • According to a search warrant unsealed in January, detectives learned that "Jessica has suffered with depression. … I have also learned from family that Timothy Griffith was a violent person and may have also been suffering from mental illness."

    In the days leading up to their deaths, the couple reached out to estranged family members and ex-spouses, most of whom live in Switzerland, with emails.

    On June 30, Griffith wrote to his ex-wife: "I don't know how to repair my mistakes with the kids. I look out the window and hurt. I think of the kids and I hurt. I made a choice a long time ago that I regret now."

    He also wrote about financial problems and that he had quit drinking, the report states.

    The ex-wife replied on July 5 that he was behind on child support payments.

    "As for the kids, sorry, but you lost your privilege to know anything about them. It took them several years to get over all you put them through," she wrote, according to the report. When later interviewed by police, Griffith's ex-wife contended that "Timothy became violent with the kids and gave excessive punishments."

    When he responded to his ex-wife's email on Nov. 6 — the day the murders are believed to have taken place — his tone was decidedly more angry.

    "You were the worst decision I ever made," he wrote.

    Suicide prevention resources

    If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, KSL encourages you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

    Crisis Hotlines

    • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
    • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
    • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
    • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

    Online resources

    Jessica Griffith also sent several emails to family members on Nov. 6. In some of them, she appears to be setting up her husband to take the blame for what was about to happen.

    In an email to her mother, who she had been estranged from, she wrote that she had a dream.

    "I see myself holding my son's hand at the foot of my bed … and I see our two bodies full of blood … I look down and see my dog, a beautiful German Shepherd, who is dead near me. I turn around and squeeze my son's hand a little harder and I see my husband, who is crying with his rifle in his hands, who asks for forgiveness. … And I understand that he has killed us all so that we can stay with him," the report states.

    Griffith also asks her mother for forgiveness in the letter, and talks about years of abuse and drug use as a child and in her young adult years, according to the report.

    In other emails, Griffith contends that her husband has been acting "weird."

    Police, however, concluded in their final report that even after planning the murders and buying sleeping pills with her husband, "Jessica then attempts to hide her involvement by deleting text messages and emailing her family saying she feels she and the kids are in danger and Timothy is acting weird."

    "I believe that sufficient evidence was collected that if Timothy and Jessica were still alive they would be successfully prosecuted for the crime of aggravated murder," Mapleton police concluded.

    Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24-7 by calling 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or by contacting the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition at udvc.org.

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