Autopsy reports released this week by the Cobb County medical examiner’s office in Georgia found that the mother of Erin Edwards, a rising junior at Boston University, fatally shot her daughter three times in a murder-suicide in August, before turning the gun on herself. The two died in the same room.
Dr. Marsha Edwards also shot her son, Christopher Edwards II, at least five times as he lay in bed, the report said. Marsha Edwards then killed herself with a single shot to the chest.
The gruesome deaths of Erin, 20, her brother, Christopher, 24, and their mother, 58, shocked the prominent family’s community in Atlanta and left BU students reeling. In October, more than 200 people gathered at the university’s Marsh Chapel to grieve, describing Erin Edwards as a passionate student journalist and devoted friend.
Back in Atlanta, friends and family struggled to reconcile the terrible crime with the bright, successful family they knew. The children’s father, Dr. Christopher Edwards, is an orthopedic surgeon and chairman of the Atlanta Housing Authority board, and he had divorced Marsha Edwards in 2012. The younger Chris Edwards worked in the mayor’s office.
The autopsy reports described the bodies of the three victims in clinical detail, noting that while Marsha and Erin Edwards were found in the same room, Chris Edwards was found in a separate room on another floor of the four-story townhouse where the crime took place. The family lived in a placid gated community in the Vinings suburb of Atlanta. Erin Edwards was shot once in the chest and twice in the left arm.
Erin Edwards was supposed to be on a flight back to Boston to lead a first-year student outreach program in late August, but she didn’t show up at the airport. Chris Edwards didn’t arrive at work. Their father called police to do a welfare check; when officials arrived at the home, they found three bodies.