One hardship after another seemed to strike the Shafer family, which owned what had been one of the most pristine and prosperous dairy farms in Bellefontaine, Ohio, but could hardly pay its bills in recent years, say neighbors. The 650-acre farm is overgrown and produces little milk. It began to fall into disrepair about a decade ago, and then the owners, Steve and Sheri Shafer, divorced, reports the New York Times. Ms. Shafer was left with a school-age son and daughter, and the farm to run with her parents. A dispute over an inheritance further divided the family and left them living a largely day-to-day existence and struggling to pay their property taxes, said a longtime friend who owns the adjacent farm.
For years Scott Moody, Ms. Shafer’s son, found himself relied upon to guide the family through its mounting problems, neighbors say. They believe the struggles overwhelmed the youth. Early on Sunday morning, the authorities say, Moody, 18, got out of bed, loaded his .22-caliber rifle, walked a quarter mile to his grandparents’ home and shot them to death as they made breakfast. He returned home, reloaded the rifle and went from bedroom to bedroom, shooting people as they slept, the authorities say. Moody, who was to graduate from high school that day, then shot himself. Authorities continue to search for what set off the shootings. “There seemed to be no argument, no idea he was going to do this,” said the county sheriff. Ms. Shafer held a graduation party for her son Saturday night, but the youth was refusing to attend the graduation ceremony.