Superintendent offers tips for parents; memorial funds established

Preble County’s sheriff and coroner offices are currently investigating the deaths of a father and two children in what they believe is a murder-suicide.

On Jan. 24, deputies responded to a request for a welfare check in the 9200 block of Greenbush Road in Somerville, which is in Gratis Township on the county’s eastern edge.

Deputies were advised by the children’s mother, who does not live at the residence, that they had not arrived that morning at Preble Shawnee Elementary and Middle School as normal.

Further investigation determined that their father, Shane Elliott, 40, had not shown up at his place of employment, according to a news release from Sheriff Mike Simpson.

Deputies arrived at the residence and found the house secure. They attempted contact without success.

Officers then forced entry into the residence after determining that the children, Caleb Elliott, 13, and Grace Elliott, 10, were likely in the home.

The father and children were found deceased in the living room with apparent gunshot wounds.

Grace was a fourth-grader and Caleb was a seventh-grader.

The residence was secured, Simpson said, and detectives processed the scene.

The three bodies were transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office where autopsies were expected to be performed Jan. 25.

An investigation is continuing, Simpson said.

Somerville Bank announced that it is accepting donations for an account to help the children’s mother, Kellie Elliott, at any of its locations, including its Richmond mortgage office at 3215 E. Main St.

A GoFundMe account for memorial expenses already had raised more than $8,500 in five hours.


Superintendent provides advice for parents

In a social media post for parents, Superintendent Todd Bowling said the school would provide grief counselors for Arrow students identified as struggling or asking to talk to someone.

Parents also were invited to call and make them aware of their children’s feelings and let them know if there was anything school employees should look for.

He advised parents not to avoid questions; instead, they are encouraged to talk with their children and listening to their feelings.

Parents should not pretend everything is normal, or to speculate what happened, Bowling said, but noted it is okay to talk with children about funerals and what happens at them.

Bowling, who began leading the district at the beginning of this school year, suggested parents be available, be patient, be honest, be respectful, and not be afraid to express their sympathy.


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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.