The Edgewater murder-suicide reported on Christmas has shocked the local community, as authorities are still trying to identify the reason why the head of the family chose to kill himself and his loved ones.
53-year old Michael Stasko, alongside his 43-year old wife Melisa and their 8-year old daughter Mellie had been invited to spend Christmas with some relatives in Missouri.
Despite being aware that the family would’ve had to drive for around 17 hours before reaching his home, Mellie’s uncle still felt alarmed when his guests didn’t arrive on time for Christmas dinner, after having planned to show up during early afternoon.
Eventually, after several failed attempts to contact his niece’s parents, the man decided the best course of action would be to make sure everything was alright, by reaching out to the Edgewater police department.
Police officers were quickly dispatched to the Windsor at Mariners Tower and Cove, a luxury apartment building on the banks of the Hudson River, whose 17th floor was occupied by the Stasko family.
Upon arriving in the apartment, law enforcement saw a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, with plenty of presents, and afterwards made a ghastly discovery. The family had all been killed, in an apparent murder-suicide committed by Michael Stasko.
Mellie was discovered fatally shot in her parents’ bed, after having sustained a single gunshot at the left side of the back of her head, close to the ear.
Melisa, who had been lying next to her daughter, had shared the same fate, having died because of a similar gunshot, but at the right part of the back of her skull.
As investigators believe, given that there is nothing to suggest forced entry and no signs of struggle have been detected, the mother and daughter were probably killed while asleep, by Michael Stasko, who was also found dead, after a fatal gunshot to the chin.
The murder weapon, identified near the bodies, was a .45-caliber gun with hollow-point bullets, and it’s unclear for now exactly when it was purchased.
According to John L. Molinelli, Bergen County prosecutor in charge with the inquest into the family’s death, no records were identified, to indicate that the handgun was bought in New Jersey.
Therefore, it’s more likely that it was obtained at an earlier time, given the fact that the family had until recently been living in New York.
Currently, officials are trying to unearth the reasons which drove Michael Stasko to take his own life and that of his daughter and wife.
The murder-suicide has left those who knew the Staskos completely shaken, especially since the family had appeared so close-knit and traditional, with Michael striking others as a protective and dedicated husband and father.
Police officers are looking into the possibility that the family may have been experiencing financial or legal woes, but so far nothing has supported this theory.
Michael Stasko had been running a business for more than 2 decades, providing custom-made watches for law enforcement in New Jersey, Las Vegas, New York and Illinois.
The company appeared to be successful, even directing 10% of its earnings to charity, so as to support the grieving families of police officers killed in the line of duty.
Several such watches have been retrieved by investigators while examining the crime scene, as more evidence is being collected in order to discover what triggered Michael Stasko’s mental breakdown.
Neighbors have also been interviewed, but apparently no one heard anything except loud music during the evening of December 22, when it appears the murders occurred.
Law enforcement is taking into account the possibility that the music had actually been coming from Stasko’s apartment all along, in an effort to make the gunshots less audible. Apparently, Michael Stasko even used a blanket or a towel on the gun, so as to make as little noise as possible while firing the fatal bullets.
Image Source: North Jersey