4-Year-Old Greyson Kessler Killed By Father in Murder-Suicide as Mother Sought Help

Greyson Keller, 4, was shot to death by his father, who then killed himself, police said.
Greyson KellerGoFundMe

Greyson Kessler, 4, had been on a court-ordered visitation with his father. Hours before their bodies were discovered, the mother had sought help from authorities, her family said.

Four-year-old Greyson Keller was shot to death by his father, who then turned the gun on himself, Florida police said. The boy's mother had begged a court for help just hours before the murder-suicide, her family said.

Fort Lauderdale Police officers found the bodies of Greyson and John Stacey, 47, inside the father's condo on Friday. The shootings occurred just hours before a protection order was filed by Greyson’s mother, Allison Kessler, who sought an emergency pick-up of the boy by authorities. Kessler said she had been unable to reach Stacey, and the boy hadn't been dropped off at his school, CBS4 News reported, citing court documents.

“Greyson’s mother, Alison Kessler, did everything she could to keep her child safe from harm,” says a statement from her family. “We feel that the system failed us at every level, from her attorney to the police department, to the court system.

"There were many red flags exhibited by John Stacey that were never acted upon, even though Alison reported his bizarre and threatening behavior and went through all the proper channels. This tragedy could have been prevented if proper action had been taken to help Alison and Greyson," the statement said.

Police said the deaths likely happened Thursday night, one day after Stacey had picked up the boy for court-ordered visitation.

Kessler filed a flurry a court documents last week. On Thursday, she asked for an injunction to keep Stacey away from her and Greyson, saying the father was sending threatening text messages. “You deserve to have your head separated from body, and deserve to die. But I am not the violent type. God will deal with you,” read one, according to records, CBS4 said.

Kessler also went to police last week after finding a GPS tracking device attached to the bottom of her car, according to her attorney, The Associated Press reported.

On Friday, a judge issued an order supporting Kessler's request for a restraining order, but denied her request for an emergency pick-up, saying it "does not present an emergency as it addresses the issue of child visitation," the Florida Sun Sentinel reported. 

The court issued a statement after the bodies were discovered.

“The 17th Judicial Circuit is aware of the tragic situation reported in the news over the weekend. Judges are prohibited from commenting on pending proceedings and cannot discuss the specifics of any orders. It cannot be stressed enough that if someone has reason to believe a child or any other person is in danger, they should call law enforcement – in all instances. We extend to the family and mother of this horrific event our deepest condolences,” the statement said.

The shooting deaths are under investigation by Fort Lauderdale police, authorities said. A GoFundMe account has been established to help with burial costs.

Authorities called the murder-suicide "a parent's worst nightmare."

"We understand the mother and family of the child victim are feeling an immense amount of grief at this time. We want to ensure them, and our community, we will be conducting a full investigation into this incident," read a statement from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

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