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Family remembers victims after double-murder/suicide in Billings

Apparent murder suicide
Family remembers victims after double-murder/suicide in Billings
Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 20:31:52-04

Family members are remembering the victims of an apparent double murder and suicide discovered Wednesday on Billings South Side.

Police say they suspect a man, identified by relatives as William Darling, shot and killed his wife Melissa and their son, 11-year-old William Darling Jr.

Melissa's father, Russel Gause, and his family say they are now living their worst nightmare.

"They were the most precious kids I know, and they didn't have to go this way," Gause said. "We're supposed to die before our kids. It's a tragedy that they're both gone now. I'd do anything to change it."

The family said they knew there were issues in the Darlings' home and that William Darling was struggling, but they didn't imagine it would get this bad.

“We still loved him no matter what," Gause said. "He hasn’t been working for the last 10 years so everything just gathered on him."

Family remembers victims after double-murder/suicide in Billings

Melissa's older sister, April Peterson, also said she knew the couple was dealing with some issues.

"She mentioned to her two days ago that she was talking about leaving him, so I'm wondering if she brought it up and this is how it escalated," Peterson said.

April said that she and her sister had grown apart, but that her love for her was still unconditional.

“I still love her, would do anything for her. I am just going to remember all of the fun times we had," Peterson said.

William Darling, Jr. was a fourth grader at Newman Elementary School in Billings. His grandfather said he was loved by all of his classmates and teachers.

William Darling Jr
William Darling Jr

"He was my buddy," said Grause. "I just wished it didn't happen to them."

It's a tragedy that has left this Billings family broken and clinging to the memory of their loved ones.

"It's still a nightmare," Peterson said. "I'm going to miss her. I wish I could talk to her one more time."