VININGS, Ga. — In a tragedy both heartbreaking and bewildering, touching prominent communities from Atlanta to New York to Boston, police said Thursday that 58-year-old Marsha Edwards is suspected of killing her adult children, 24-year-old Chris Edwards II and 20-year-old Erin Edwards, in a murder-suicide.
The children, one a media specialist for the City of Atlanta and the other a journalism student at Boston University, had worked for high-profile organizations and were seen as ambitious young professionals with bright futures.
The mother owned and operated a medical supply equipment company and had an extensive history and presence in the Atlanta medical community, as does their father, Dr. Christopher Edwards, a prominent Atlanta surgeon who sits on the boards of public institutions and elite private universities.
These are the stories of the wide-ranging impact this family made and the profound loss their family, friends and communities are feeling:
- Chris Edwards II wanted to inspire others: The City of Atlanta digital content manager was a recent Elon University graduate and had his sights set on a career in sports media. He was known as a bright young man who touched many in Atlanta journalism circles, including 11Alive's Neima Abdulahi, who knew him from the Atlanta Elon community. "He had big dreams," she said.
- Erin Edwards was a budding journalist with clear talent: The Boston University rising junior was an intern at WNBC in New York this summer. Those at the station recalled her as a "gifted storyteller with a passion for her work" with "truly God-given" talent.
- Marsha Edwards lived a public life that appeared idyllic: The mother frequently posted on social media about her trips, social events and professional ventures - and, more than any of those things, her pride in her children.
- She posted "I could not ask for better children" in her final Instagram post: Among her last Instagram posts were photos from a trip to Italy with her daughter and with her son in Miami for the annual National Association of Black Journalists conference. And then, on Wednesday, the same day of the alleged murder-suicide, she wrote: "I’ve had the best summer, first with Chris in Miami, and Erin in Italy. I could not ask for better children."
- There were 'no signs of trouble': Dr. Christopher Edwards, had dinner with his daughter the night before her death and nothing seemed amiss, according to a spokesman for the prominent Atlanta surgeon. The father is "in a state of grief and shock."
- Neighbors and community members are in shock: One neighbor called it "unbelievable." Another said the neighborhood was "devastated." More grief poured in from the Atlanta Mayor's Office to WNBC in New York to Boston University to the NABJ community across the country, as those who knew the family struggle to make sense of the tragedy.
- Police haven't yet pieced together how exactly this happened: An investigation is ongoing.
- Funeral plans have been made: Shocked friends and family prepare to say goodbye
- Scholarships and memorials set up: Family members announced multiple scholarships and memorial funds for Marsha, Chris and Erin. Those who are interested in donating in their names can get more information here.