Friday, March 15, 2002
|Friday: Police tape surrounds the
home where the slain family was found.
McMINNVILLE, Ore. A father
apparently shot his four children and wife to death in their
beds, then used the shotgun to kill himself, authorities said
The shootings are believed to have occurred
nearly three weeks before sheriff's deputies found the bodies
Thursday night, said Yamhill County prosecutor Bradley C.
The motive was unknown, but evidence
indicated Robert Bryant, 37, killed his family, Berry said.
The children -- ages 9 to 15 -- were last
at school on Feb. 22, and investigators believe the shootings
occurred the following day.
School authorities made several attempts to
contact the family after teachers noticed the children's
absence, said Karen Richey, assistant superintendent for the
McMinnvile School District.
"We had people knocking on the door several
times," but no one answered, she said. School officials
weren't alarmed because it is common for students to be absent
during the flu season, she said.
Two sheriff's deputies were in the vicinity
Thursday night on an unrelated call when neighbors approached
them to express concern about the family. The deputies used a
ladder to look into a window and spotted the bodies.
The Bryants recently moved to Oregon from
the Sacramento, Calif., area. Court records show that before
they moved, Bryant had filed for bankruptcy.
Bryant was a self-employed landscaping
contractor. The other victims were his wife, Janet Ellen, 37,
and Clayton, 15; Ethan, 12; Ashley, 10; and Alyssa, 9.
The hillside home sits on about two acres
in a rural subdivision outside McMinnville, a prosperous town
in the heart of Oregon's vineyard country. The town is about
20 miles south of Portland.