A New Jersey mom and teen son slain in a murder-suicide in their Morris County home are shown in a heartbreaking photo on a memorial fundraising page organized “to lay the entire family to rest.”
Peter Ventricelli, 57, fatally shot his 58-year-old wife, Kellie, and 15-year-old son, Anthony, inside their house in upscale Succasunna early Tuesday before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
Ventricelli’s motive for the slaughter remained unclear. The dad worked as a private contractor.
The photo, posted to a GoFundMe page launched Wednesday, shows the teen wearing a Roxbury Football sweatshirt and his mom dressed in red in their house decorated for Christmas.
“Due to the shock of this sudden loss, our family is not prepared for the financial responsibilities that come along with the handling of funeral expenses and other costs,” wrote Carlo Ventricelli, Peter’s nephew.
As of Thursday morning, the page had raised more than $39,000 of its $50,000 goal.
The funds will cover “three burials and all costs involved with trying to lay the entire family to rest,” the nephew said.
The deaths also cripple the family’s business, which the nephew described as “the sole income keeping my grandparents in the house that they built in 1965,” noting: “Any additional funds will go towards keeping my grandparents in their home.”
“The shock of this situation has our family at a loss for words,” the nephew wrote. “There will be much more added to this page once we allow ourselves time to process this enormous tragedy. We are still learning more about the details, but an investigation is still underway.”
Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll called the case “a tragic murder-suicide brought on by domestic violence. It is a heartbreaking loss for the Ventricelli family.”
“Neighbors, schoolmates, friends and the Roxbury community as a whole are mourning this shocking and senseless loss of life. We ask that citizens exercise discretion and compassion while discussing the situation on social media.”
There is no danger to the community, authorities said.
Roxbury Public Schools notified parents Tuesday night of the loss of the high schooler.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of the loss of one of our high school students,” the Facebook post said. “The high school administration and staff have coordinated supports and resources for students and staff who may need them.”
Friends mourned the shocking deaths in Facebook posts.
“My phone alerted me on a newsbreak,” Nelli Bee wrote. “All I saw was Justine Place (a constant address on Christmas cards we received of years past) and read the tragic story.”
“Never did I think it would be you. My heart is broken for a beautiful friend and such a loving Mom. Rest in Peace Kellie Voorhees-Ventricelli and Anthony. All of my prayers are channeling to you. May the Lord welcome you with open arms and you feel the warmth of His forever love in eternal peace.”
“No words right now, just heartbreak and tears,” Shawn Taylor posted. “I will remember all of the good times and memories we all shared together. RIP Anthony and Kellie Voorhees-Ventricelli. Please pray for this whole family right now during this difficult time.”
Morris County is ranked as the second-wealthiest county in the Garden State, by per-capita income, according to a study published last year by the financial technology company SmartAsset.