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Police in Springville suspect foul play in the deaths of two parents and their three children whose bodies were found in the master bedroom of their home, covered in bedding and a cup of colored fluid sitting next to each victim.
"It is probable that these deaths were not accidental or natural in any way," an officer wrote in an affidavit to search the home of Benjamin and Kristi Strack, who were found dead in their bed on Sept. 27 with the bodies of their children: 14-year-old Benson, 12-year-old Emery, and 11-year-old Zion arranged around the bed.
"With the placement of the bodies, it would appear somebody had to position the bodies after they were deceased," officers wrote.
A red liquid substance was coming from Kristi Strack's mouth, police wrote.
Officers found in a trash bag a number of empty containers for medications, including 10 empty boxes of nighttime cold and flu medicine and two empty boxes of "generic benadryl." Police also found empty bottles of liquid methadone, "dispensed from a drug treatment clinic," officers wrote. Some of the empty bottles were labeled with future dates.
Police also found pill bottles, a pitcher of red juice, a purple bucket of yellow liquid, a towel with a red substance on it, empty sleep aid boxes and a baggie of marijuana.
The Stracks' lone surviving son, who had been out of the house, and his grandmother happened upon the motionless bodies the evening of Sept. 27. The master bedroom door was locked, so the grandmother had to force it open.
Kristi Strack's mother had to be physically removed from the home "due to her emotional state," officers wrote. When officers told her carbon monoxide may have been leaking into the home, the mother said "there was no carbon monoxide leak, and that she knew her family," police wrote. "[The mother] also said she couldn't believe 'she' would do this to the kids. Officers tried to clarify [the grandmother's] statement, but she only assured them it wasn't a carbon monoxide leak."
A test of the air in the home by firefighters did not find any carbon monoxide.
Springville Police Lt. Dave Caron on Thursday said he is declining to comment until the medical examiner's report is finished at the end of November.
"To comment or speculate on the cause or manner of death prior to the results of those autopsies would be unprofessional," according to a Thursday news release from the department. "And minus those reports we have no updates to give on the case or the investigation itself."
Benjamin and Kristi Strack, 37 and 36, respectively, pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of forgery, theft, identity fraud and unlawful possession of credit cards. Benjamin Strack also pleaded guilty to drug paraphernalia charges.
No other serious criminal history appears in the Utah court record.
Reporter Michael McFall contributed to this story.