An itinerant, unemployed Michigan man, apparently despondent over his poverty, is believed to have killed his wife and their three children and shot himself to death in a remote area of northern Nevada, authorities said Sunday.
An investigator for the Washoe County coroner's office said it appeared that David L. Greenwood, 32, killed his wife, Elizabeth, 31, and the children, then shot himself to death with a 9-millimeter carbine Saturday afternoon.
Two of the three children--Derrick Owen Byrd, 10, and Linda May Byrd, 8, were Mrs. Greenwood's children from a previous marriage, according to Steve Finnell, an investigator. The third child, Stormy Lynn Greenwood, 2, was the couple's child.
Initially, Nevada authorities said they considered the killings homicide, but later changed to the possibility of homicide-suicide.
The five bodies were found in a remote sagebrush area near the Truckee Canal, 25 miles east of Reno, about 4:20 p.m. Saturday, according to Storey County Undersheriff Bruce Larson.
Greenwood and his wife were on the ground outside their 1978 green Ford pickup truck and the children were found in the truck's cab. All five had bullet wounds in their heads, investigators said. Two live cats were also in the cab.
"It looked like all their worldly possessions" were in a camper shell attached to the pickup, Finnell said in a telephone interview.
The investigator said he had reached David Greenwood's mother by phone Sunday and she told him that her son and his wife had been "despondent over their financial situation" and previously had attempted suicide.
The Greenwoods left Pontiac, Mich., about two weeks ago. A cousin said Greenwood had lost his job at an auto parts company.
"The whole neighborhood's in a state of shock. I can't understand it," Shirley Riley, who lived near the family in Pontiac, told the Associated Press. "I saw them packing the truck and putting the kids in it. I went over to talk to (Mrs. Greenwood) and she gave me the (house) keys and said, 'We're going to Oregon."'
"We found some temporary service cards in his possession" indicating Greenwood had recently worked as a day laborer in Oregon, Finnell said. "Why they ended up near Reno, who knows?"