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The Schlaepfer Family Massacre
On May 20th 1992 in Paerata, a family was massacred by one of it's own. Brian Schlaepfer, aged 64, turned on his family following an argument with his wife. Only his nine-year-old granddaughter, Linda, survived.
According to a police reconstruction this is what happened:

Brian Schlaepfer was suffering from depression and an argument with his wife Jocelyn, aged 55, early that morning, ended in him stabbing her in the heart in their bedroom. Their 33 year-old son, Karl, got up to investigate and was shot in the neck while standing at his bedroom door. Brian Schalepfer then went out to the tool shed where he shot his 31 year-old son, Darrell, in the jaw and throat.

In another farmhouse on the property, Hazel Schlaepfer heard the shots and got up to investigate. As she approached her in-laws' home, Brian shot her in the arm and chest. She managed to get back to her farmhouse and dial 111, but was followed by Brian who went into her son's (his grandson's) room. He stabbed 11-year-old Aaron as he lay in bed, causing fatal wounds to his abdomen and chest. He then went into his granddaughter Linda's room but was unable to find her, so went back to the kitchen where Hazel was on the phone to Constable Stuck pleading for help. He finished her off with a shot to her face and another to the abdomen.

A special mention of Constable Stuck needs to be made, as he was the officer who answered Hazel's desperate call, listened helplessly as Hazel was killed, and had to keep calm and talk Linda through the murderous chaos that surrounded her.
He returned to the implement shed where his youngest son lay dead and waited for his eldest son, Peter, aged 39, to return from working on the farm where he shot and stabbed him to death. After wandering into bush, Brian Schlaepfer took his own life with a single shot to the head.

Grandaughter Linda Schlaepfer was the only one in the family left alive. She had hidden in her wardrobe but heard her grandfather shoot her mother and stab her brother. This brave little girl took over the 111 phone call to police and talked to them about what had happened for three hours until the scene was secured and police entered the residence.

A special mention of Constable Stuck needs to be made, as he was the officer who answered Hazel's desperate call, listened helplessly as Hazel was killed, and had to keep calm and talk Linda through the murderous chaos that surrounded her.

Why did this tragedy occur? No one would ever know for sure, but Brian Schlaepfer's mental state was obviously more serious then anyone had thought. It appears his slim hold on sanity was lost when he argued with his wife.


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Brian Schlaepfer murdered his entire family with the exception of his granddaughter on May 20, 1992.

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