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4.18.2011

FATHER Slaughters his Family, Wife and Three Children (all under age of 4)- Marital Problems alluded too..

There is ALWAYS a “history” of ‘domestic’ or a divorce, or other legal action being sought or pending in all these cases where the father kills his wife and children. Entitlement at all costs. Ownership pure and simple—then, they blame MOM- for stressing DAD out with “marital problems”  or other—e.g. “She ran her face into his fist”.

This is what Father’s Rights- a Federally Funded program is creating—not More FATHER involvement—Just more FATHERS killing. More MOTHERS being stripped of their children, in any way—including death. Maternal Deprivation, Revenge Murders. Gee, thanks dad!

Dawn Atwater.OAK HARBOR -- Investigators are not releasing any details about what caused a Salem Township man to kill his wife and three of his children, then himself late Friday night.

Police believe Alan Atwater, 31, shot his wife Dawn, 30, and their children Ashley, who just celebrated her fourth birthday about two weeks earlier; Isaac Atwater, 2, and Brady Atwater, 1 1/2. Alan Atwater called the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office at 12:11 a.m. Saturday morning.

Brady Atwater.Ashley Atwater.Isaac Atwater.

"There's been a terrible accident at my house," Atwater matter-of-factly told a dispatcher. "My wife and three children are dead. Gunshot wounds, and I'm getting ready to kill myself right now."

The chilling call lasted only about 35 seconds.

Alan Atwater told the dispatcher he shot his family members, but ended the call as soon as she began asking him details of what happened.

Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton said deputies arrived within minutes to the two-story farmhouse, but saw and heard no movement within the house. Bratton said the sheriff's office Special Response Team set up a perimeter for their own safety, noting that even with what Atwater said in the call, they couldn't be sure if it was a hostage situation -- or a set-up for an ambush.

Atwater's grandmother Joan Atwater, who lives only several hundred feet from the home, was listening to the police scanner when she heard deputies dispatched to the house. She tried to call 20 or 30 times, by her estimation, but got no answer.

Sheriff's deputies tried to reach Alan by phone. They also enlisted the assistance of Joan as they tried to contact Alan using loudspeakers. They received no answer with that, either.

At 2:52 a.m., SRT officers broke into the house and found the bodies in an upstairs bedroom. Brady was in bed; the remaining family members, including Alan, were on the floor. No note was found, Bratton said.

On Sunday, Bratton said investigators had been made aware of marital circumstances that may have caused problems, but declined to elaborate.

"We're more aware of certain situations than we're going to talk about early on in the investigation," Bratton said. "During the press conference yesterday, we still had investigators at the house."

More information will be made available after the investigation is complete, Bratton said.

In what turned out to be the last time Neil Atwater saw his grandson Alan, there was something about him that seemed a little off.

Neil's wife Joan described her grandson, 31, as a workaholic and the kind of person who was always there for his family, be it working the family farm, helping them through times of illness or helping her learn how to use a computer.

"He didn't act like Alan," Joan remembered Neil telling her Friday.

"Obviously, this is a tragedy," said Ottawa County Sheriff's Capt. Olen Martin. "The community is shocked."

Including Atwater's grandmother.

"I cannot believe this happened," Joan Atwater said. "I never expected something like this.

"We don't know what went on," she said. "He said they had marital problems, but we all have marital problems."

Bratton said Alan Atwater had no criminal history beyond traffic violations, and they were never called to any kind of domestic incident at the home.

Todd Schneider, spokesman for FirstEnergy, said Alan Atwater worked in the maintenance department at Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

"He was a skilled craftsman and an instrument control technician," Schneider said.

While Schneider said FirstEnergy wouldn't release any more details on Atwater's employment Sunday, he did confirm that Atwater, as a condition of employment at Davis-Besse, had previously completed at least one psychological evaluation.

Bratton said Dawn Atwater didn't work outside the home.

Joan Atwater said her grandson also helped with the family farm run by her husband, whom Alan Atwater addressed not as "grandpa," but as "chief."

She said Dawn Atwater was a quiet person, but the children were starting to get chatty as they got older. Isaac always came up to her and tried to talk to her, she said.

"Ashley was getting older and a little more talkative," Joan Atwater said.

Atwater also had a 12-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Bratton said.

Atwater and the girl's mother had joint custody, and she was in Lucas County this weekend, Bratton said.

On the social networking site Facebook, Dawn Atwater's profile features family photos, including her husband and children.

In one comment on the Atwaters' wedding photo, which features Alan, Dawn and Atwater's 12-year-old daughter, a friend asks why no one's smiling.

"Yeah, we were fighting on our wedding day!!!!" Dawn wrote.

The friend followed up with kind encouragement.

Bratton said he doesn't understand Alan Atwater's actions.

"The one thing I can't get over is that he chose this," Bratton said, going on to say there is help for every person in any given situation.

"This is just a tragedy," he said. "I am baffled how anyone could point a gun and kill a little child."

The case remains under investigation by the sheriff's office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Bratton said Sunday he wasn't certain if autopsies had been completed by the Lucas County Coroner's Office.

Funeral arrangements for all five Atwaters are pending at Crosser Funeral Home in Oak Harbor.

This is the second multiple murder in Ottawa County in six months. B.J. Liske was arrested and charged with the Halloween murders of his father, stepmother and stepbrother in their Benton Township home. Liske is at the Erie County Jail awaiting trial.

"For some reason, this is how people are finding a resolution to their problems," Bratton said. "I wish I had an answer, but I don't."

Email Vince Guerrieri at vguerrie@gannett.com.
Email James Proffitt at jproffit@gannett.com.