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A Massachusetts children’s book author who hinted at professional struggles on social media shot and killed his wife and three children earlier this week before turning the firearm on himself, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office said.

Plymouth County’s chief medical examiner on Wednesday concluded that 43-year-old Joseph Zaccardi’s cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound while the deaths of his 40-year-old wife, Deirdre Zaccardi and their three children, 11-year-old Alexis and 9-year-old twins, Nathaniel and Kathryn, were determined to be homicides, NBC Boston reported.

Officers with the Abington Police Department responded to a 911 call on Monday from a relative of the Zaccardi family, who went to the home to pick up the children for school.

Instead, she discovered Deirdre Zaccardi unresponsive and bleeding.

From left, Kathryn, Alexis, Nathaniel were found dead inside their home along with their parents, Joe and Deirdre.
From left, Kathryn, Alexis, Nathaniel were found dead inside their home along with their parents, Joe and Deirdre. (Facebook)

When authorities arrived on scene just before 8 a.m., they found the three children and their father deeper inside the Abington residence.

Zaccardi, according to his social media page, has been out of work. On Facebook, the writer and illustrator listed his employment status as “unemployed and going crazy.” An Amazon search of his name turns up four books, the most recent of which – titled “Day is Done No More Fun” – was made available through the online retailer in June 2018.

Before that, he published his book, “All Mixed Up,” an accomplishment he shared in a Facebook post back in April 2017.

“I am proud to announce that my third children’s book, ‘All Mixed Up,’ has been published and is now available to purchase on Amazon,” Zaccardi wrote.

“Again, thank you for everybody’s support and encouragement with each book I do! Without the support of family and friends, an individual’s hopes and dreams can only go so far.”

The very first comment on the post is from his wife: “I’m so proud of you!” she wrote.

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said earlier this week that there have been no previous incidents or domestic violence issues “that would lead you to believe something like this would happen.”

Family friend Debbie Welling echoed the sentiment, telling NBC Boston that no one could have possibly predicted the tragedy.

“Just super fun-loving. Just a normal family,” she said. “It just proves that anything can happen at anytime. We’re just so devastated. There’s no reason. There are no words.”