The Smith Family Murder -Suicide Saco, Maine

The afternoon of July 26, 2014 was reportedly nothing special or out of the ordinary for the Smith family of 5. They were barbequeing outside their complex at Riverview apartments in beautiful Saco, Maine. No one knew hours later that they would all be gone – dead, and that the threat was to come from within their own family.

Joel Smith, 33 and his wife, Heather 36 moved to Maine from Phoenix Arizona just 2-3 years before, after a vacation to visit Joel’s father. Joel was the Superintendent of the Riverview complex and helped with other complexes owned by Phoenix Management. Heather was a Medical Assistant at Portland Gastroentrology. They had 3 children, Jason who was 12 was from a previous relationship of Heather’s, Noah 7 and Lily, 4.

There is no indication what precipitated the violence in Unit B201, however, there are reports that Joel was angry that his wife stayed outside talking to neighbors until 10:30 pm. Police believe that Joel stopped first in Jason’s bedroom around 11:30 pm and shot the boys each in their own rooms while they slept, before continuing on to the Master bedroom and shooting Heather and Lily who were asleep in the bed. The children were each shot twice. Heather and Joel both were shot once in the head. The weapon was a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with birdshot and slugs.

Family members discussed that the family was having issues with drinking and addiction, as well as financial problems. Additionally, Joel had sought medical help for issues with panic, anxiety in depression four separate times in the 9 months before the killings. A report indicated that Joel had stopped taking the antidepressant Zoloft after losing his insurance.

The extended family members reported that Heather had spent time in a rehab to detox off opiates but there were no signs of any illegal drugs in the home at the time of the murders, and her autopsy report indicated only a therapeutic level of hydrocodone in her system along with a blood alcohol level of .23. Joel did not appear to be inebriated at the time of the killings as his toxicology showed no alcohol or drugs in his system.

Heather shared with a family member that about a week before the murder, Joel has threatened to commit suicide due to depression. Her sister in law discussed that Heather felt controlled and there were calls where she expressed fear to family members but there were no police calls or records for domestic violence. No neighbors reported any signs of any violence in the home.

Heather is laid to rest in Phoenix, AZ with the children.

Hopkinton – Entwhistle Murders

Rachel was from Kingston, MA. She graduated from Silver Lake High School in 1997 before enrolling in Holy Cross which included a year abroad in England.

Rachel met Neil Entwhistle while participating in the rowing club while in England. The couple married in Plymouth,MA in August of 2003.

In September 2005, after daughter Lillian was born the couple moved to Massachusetts first moving in with Rachel’s mother in Carver, MA then eventually renting a 5 bedroom luxury room in Hopkinton January 12, 2006 that the family would be in for just 10 days before the murders.

Entwhistle was an IT expert and Computer Programmer who had difficulty finding a job in the US. Entwhistle sold computer products on eBay but received many complaints from buyers who never received their orders. He also ran a site called which offered support to adult internet businesses – that site later closed.

Entwhistle spent time in the internet on sites like adult Friend finder and other similar sites.

On January 21st, Neil Entwhistle allegedly went to the home of his in-laws in Carver when they were at work He took a gun belonging to his father in law and headed back to Hopkinton where he shot Rachel in the head and Lillian in the chest in the bed of the master bedroom, then pulled the blankets up. He then returned the gun to Carver while his in-laws were still out of the house. Maybe thinking the gun would not b we connected to the murders and if it was that it would draw suspicion away from him.

Entwhistle drive to Logan airport and took a British Airways flight to London. He drove around the country before eventually ending up at his parents home where he told them he had found Rachel dead and as a final insult, accused Rachel of killing Lillian and herself. Something he would also later use as a defense.

Rachel and Lillian were missed almost immediately but it would take a couple of days for the bodies to be found in the bed of the master bedroom.

On February 1st, Rachael and Lillian were laid to rest. Neil was arrested on February 9th, at the Royal Oak Underground station. He was carrying a notebook detailing his plans to sell his story.

Neil Entwhistle was extradited February 15th after waiving his right to challenge extradition. Entwhistle’s DNA was found on the revolver used to kill his family. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

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