Oct 29, 2014 7:45 PM

Police: Deaths of Utah family of 5 not accidental

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CTIY (AP) The deaths of five members of a Utah family found last month do not appear to be accidental or natural, according to search warrants obtained Tuesday.

The five members of the Strack family, including three children, were found covered in bedding in a single bedroom with cups of liquid next to them, according to the warrant filed in Utah court.

It appears someone positioned the bodies after they died, according to the warrant.

Benjamin and Kristi Strack were in the bed when they were found in their Springville home on Sept. 27. Three of their children were lying around it, the bedding pulled up to their necks.

Police found a red liquid coming out of Kristi Strack's mouth.

"It is probable that these deaths were not accidental or natural in any way," Detective Jeff Ellsworth wrote in the search warrant affidavit.

Bob McGee, a spokesman for rest of the Strack family, declined to comment on the case until after the report is complete.

The bodies were discovered by an older son and his girlfriend, both of whom also live in the home. Kristi Strack was last seen alive at 6 a.m.

The house was quiet when the couple left the house after noon, but when they returned at 7 p.m. they realized all the cars were still at home. They knocked on the master bedroom door, but after no one answered they called Kristi Strack's mother and her friend, who helped them force it open

The search warrant says it wasn't normal for the children to be in their parents' room because they have their own rooms.

Investigators removed 14 drinking cups and bottles from the home, a pitcher of red juice and a purple bucket with yellow liquid.

They also seized a bag of marijuana, three cellphones, an iPod, a laptop computer, pill bottles, a bag of medications and empty boxes of sleep aids. One pair of slippers with a spot of blood and a towel with a red substance on it were also removed.

On Wednesday, Springville Police Lt. Dave Caron said he can't comment on the search warrant or speculate about the cause of death until results of a toxicology test come back. That's expected in late November, he said.

"Until I get those, I really don't have anything," he said. "I could come up with all sorts of theories, but it's not helpful."

Authorities have previously said the five did not die violently, and that they were not ruling out anything.

The five bodies were identified as Benjamin Strack, 37, his wife, Kristi, 36, and three of their children: Benson, 14, Emery, 12, and Zion, 11.

Little is known about the family. A family spokesman has declined to reveal much and, at a vigil, family members declined comment.

Benjamin Strack's former boss said he worked off-and-on for six to seven years at AK Masonry, a bricklaying company, and had borrowed money in the past. Court records show Benjamin and Kristi Strack pleaded guilty to misdemeanor forgery charges in 2008 and disorderly conduct the following year.

Springville is a city of about 30,000 near Provo, about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City.


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