Deirdre and Joseph Zaccardi are the Abington, Massachusetts parents who were found dead with their three elementary-age children in the family’s townhouse. She was on a school council, and he was a children’s book author who wrote about everything from a sad caterpillar to a boy looking forward to dreaming before bedtime.
The District Attorney has now identified the victims as Deirdre Zaccardi, 40; Joseph Zaccardi, 43; Alexis Zaccardi, 11; and 9-year-old twins Nathaniel and Kathryn Zaccardi. The school superintendent also gave the family’s name in a statement to the community, which is located about 20 miles from Boston. Authorities now say that Joe Zaccardi pulled the trigger before committing suicide, and they said there is not a current threat to public safety.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Say the Zaccardi Family Members Were Shot to Death
The Plymouth DA Timothy Cruz said in a news conference that police discovered the body of the 40-year-old woman first before finding the “bodies of four other people, all of whom were from the same family.” A family member had gone to the home to take the children to school and called police.
“No one’s prepared for this… that three little children’s lives have been taken. And other terrible things have occurred. No one’s ready for that,” the DA said. He called it a preliminary investigation but said all of the deaths appeared to be from gunshot wounds. The medical examiner will determine the manner of death.
“This appears to be an isolated incident. There is no current threat to public safety,” the DA said. “…There’s always going to be more questions than there are answers.” He said there were no ongoing domestic issues that authorities were aware of at this point. Whether it’s a murder suicide is part of the investigation, he said initially, but authorities later called it just that. Abington Police Chief David G. Majenski also said in the news conference that police had no previous calls to the residence.
The bodies were all found in the same townhouse. Authorities said the weapon was a “firearm,” but would not release more specifics, including the nature of the wounds, where each person was found, or a motive.
2. Deirdre Zaccardi Was Elected to the School Council, Worked as an Office Manager & Frequently Wrote About Her Children on Social Media
On Facebook, Deirdre Zaccardi wrote that she was from Scituate, Massachusetts. She wrote frequently about her children on social media and shared numerous photos of them. In 2016, she was elected to the local school council. According to her LinkedIn page, she was the Office Manager at EMI Strategic Marketing, a position she held for 18 years. She had a college degree in business management from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
“I’ve also remembered why I kicked him out of our room at 5 months. He’s a noisy sleeper and add in listening for stealth vomiting and tomorrow’s looking to be a rough day,” she wrote in 2018, although it wasn’t clear which child she was referring to. She also wrote, “It was a busy weekend full of fun. From sparkling to cousin play dates, it was a good one. Well until Nathaniel threw up but what’s one more sick day with 3 days left of school!”
Her visible posts dated to 2018 and included posts like this: “Not only did they win the first game, Nathaniel for his first touchdown and pulled an opponent’s flag. ???”
“Took the day off for Lex’s Irish Step recital tonight which we can’t wait for. So I decided to take a field trip to one of my favorite stores! ???” she wrote with another post. Essentially, her posts showcased her as a busy and loving mother involved in school activities.
Deirdre was involved in the community as well, lobbying for free full-time kindergarten. She also wrote, “didn’t get home from Town Meeting until after 10:30pm last night. I’m dragging today but everything went the way I wanted last night. Although I could have done without the hour long discussion/question session on the 4 Marijuana Articles. We had to vote 3 times on banning retail shops because apparently saying no to banning them wasn’t enough the first time.”
3. Tributes & Shock Flowed on Social Media Over the Zaccardi Family’s Deaths as One Friend Called Deirdre a ‘Beautiful Spirit’
The Zaccardi family released a statement. “Today our family has suffered an unfathomable loss,” the statement said, according to The Boston Globe. “As we attempt to make sense of the enormity of this event, we respectfully ask that the media respect our family’s wishes to be left alone as we grieve our tremendous losses in private.”
Bates Wilder, a coach at Bates Wilder Acting Studio, praised Deirdre Zaccardi and her children on Facebook. “God bless and keep Deirdre Powers Zaccardi and her beautiful children. A beautiful spirit. Always smiling always positive. God please bless,” Wilder wrote.
The Superintendent of Abington Public Schools Superintendent, Peter Schafer, released a statement because the children attended the district. “This morning we were informed of the unexpected and unexplainably tragic loss of the Zaccardi family,” he wrote parents, according to the Patriot Ledger. “Their presence touched so many lives and there are no words to express the sadness we feel.”
The president of EMI Strategic Marketing, where Deirdre worked, told The Boston Globe: “Deirdre was a lovely person—a trusted employee and valued friend to all of us at EMI/ We will miss her greatly. She’d been with us nearly two decades, as we grew from just a few people to nearly 50—steadfast in her support through those years. Starting out as our receptionist, she became our Office Manager, managing everything from bookkeeping to onboarding every new employee.”
EMI wrote in a statement on Facebook: “EMI is deeply saddened by the loss of our longtime colleague and friend, Deirdre Zaccardi. A ready smile, optimism in the face of the most daunting of projects, a raft of recipes for her beloved holiday Cookie Swap, a happy story about one or all of her three children–these memories and more will remain. In her nearly 20 years at EMI, she brought kindness, friendship, caring and a can-do spirit to our community. May we all honor her memory by embracing those values every day.”
4. Joe Zaccardi Authored & Illustrated Children’s Books About a Sad Caterpillar & Dragons
Joe Zaccardi was a children’s book author. You can see his books, which he wrote and illustrated, here.
He once wrote a children’s book about a sad caterpillar. It’s available for sale on Amazon, and the blurb says, “When Sammy the caterpillar looks at the amazing things the other bugs can do it makes him sad. Can you help Sammy to discover the special piece within himself?”
The book, which was published in 2016, is called “Sammy the Once Sad Caterpillar.”
“So excited to finally be able to share this with the world! Joe’s first children’s book is now for sale in Amazon!!! Please check it out and help us spread the word,” Deidre wrote of Joe’s book.
Another book was called “Day Is Done No More Fun.” The blurb describes it as “Timmy doesn’t like all the things he has to do before bedtime. But he does like to dream, because in his dreams, he can be anything!” The blurb for the book All Mixed Up reads, “This interactive children’s book has readers helping Henry who woke up all mixed up! Will shaking the book help Henry? What if you spin it? Can you use your imagination and help Henry get back to normal?” The book What Kind of Dragon Would You Be is described as “Vividly illustrated children’s book about loving who you are. Just like people, dragons come in all shapes and sizes…what kind of dragon would you be?”
5. Joe Zaccardi Wrote That He Was ‘Going Crazy’ on Facebook & Called Himself a Teddy Bear
Joseph Zaccardi’s Facebook page describes him as “Big teddy bear with an old soul.” He also wrote that he “works at Unemployed and Going Crazy.”
He studied at the same college as his wife – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth – and attended Foxborough High School, according to his Facebook page. He was from Foxborough, Massachusetts.
In 2017, he wrote about the launch of his third children’s book, saying, “Again, thank you for everybody’s support and encouragement with each book I do! Without the support of family and friends, an individuals hopes or dreams can only go so far.” He was a fan of Kobojo, a videogame.