NSW police recovered the body of a man from the dam at his Riverina property, a day after finding his wife and three children dead.
The NSW Riverina community at the centre of a tragic multiple shooting are struggling to understand how an apparently happy father and husband could turn on his own family.
The body of a man believed to be 44-year-old Geoff Hunt was recovered by police divers from a dam on his farm on Wednesday afternoon, a day after the bodies of his wife and three children were discovered at the `Watch Hill’ homestead.
The shooting deaths of Kim Hunt, 41, her son Fletcher, 10, and daughters Mia and Phoebe at the Boree Creek Road property sparked the hunt for their missing father and husband, with police finding the body after an extensive ground and air search of the property.
They would not confirm he too had been shot, but said a gun had also been found in the dam.
Wagga Wagga Local Area Commander Superintendent Bob Noble would only say the man had suffered “significant injuries”.
“Which are not inconsistent with others we’ve seen last night,” he told reporters outside the property, near Lockhart.
Police have confirmed there was a suicide note and say there are no other people of interest.
The deaths of the well-loved family of five has plunged the nearby township of Lockhart into mourning.
St Joseph’s Primary flew its flag at half mast in remembrance of its former students Mia, Phoebe and Fletcher, with counsellors brought in to help children at the school with just 74 students.
At the Lockhart Hospital where Kim Hunt worked as a nurse, colleagues remembered her as bubbly, positive and caring. “Her death is a huge loss and she will be greatly missed by all of her colleagues and friends,” said Jill Ludford, a spokeswoman from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).
Police are still trying to put together a picture of why the tragedy unfolded, but Supt Noble said: “Clearly something wasn’t right”.
The Hunt family were well loved by the local community and never had a history with police, he said.
“It’s going to send quite a shock wave through those communities and throughout the whole area,” he said.
“These people were well integrated into the local community through work, through social events, through sport. Three young children attended the local school.
“It is going to devastate everyone.”
Locals were questioning how such a tragedy had happened.
Lockhart Mayor Peter Yates said the 900-strong town community was in severe shock.
“It’s just really, really, really traumatising,” he said.
Father Tony Schipp, who led a Mass at the children’s school St Joseph’s on Wednesday morning, said the local community had rallied in the wake of the tragedy.
The Catholic priest has only been at St Mary’s in Lockhart for four months, and said he had never met Mr Hunt.
However, nobody in town had suspected anything was amiss with the local farmer, he said.
“He was happy. He was making arrangements for events that were coming up, that he was going to be part of.
“There was no hint or signal of any internal stress factors at all.”
After the horrific discovery and search of the property, Supt Noble had a message for anyone that might detect something is not right with a loved one.
“For heavens sake tell someone, whether it is a doctor, a medical practitioner, a councillor, clergy or the police. We’re all in these communities to look after each other.”
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.