- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A family of two adults and two children was found dead inside a Herndon home Tuesday, police said.

Authorities had released few details about the deaths by Tuesday evening. The people were not identified by names, ages or relationships because police said relatives had not been notified. Police also did not say how the people died and where their bodies were found.

According to a statement Tuesday night from Fairfax County police, the deaths are being investigated as suspicious. Autopsies will be conducted by the office of the medical examiner to determine cause and manner of death, police said.

Police received a call around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday asking them to check on an adult who had not shown up for work this week, said Fairfax County police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell. Around noon, officers entered the home on the 13300 block of Point Rider Lane and found the bodies, said police spokesman Officer Eddy Azcarate.

Neighbors said the family was seen at a homeowners association picnic Sunday.

The two children, students at public schools in Fairfax County, also had not been to school this week, Ms. Caldwell said. Neighbors identified the boys as a high school student and a middle school student.

Based on the initial investigation, including what was found inside the home, police said they do not believe there is any threat to the public.

According to property records, the home where the bodies were found is owned by Albert and Kathleen Peterson. The Petersons have owned the home since it was built in 1984.

The neighborhood is next to Frying Pan Park and about a mile from Washington Dulles International Airport.

The brick house sits on a corner of two roads, at a point where neighbors say the family was one of the first drivers would see entering the neighborhood.

Neighbor Jeremy Wilcox said the father would often be sitting outside on the porch when he would get home from work.

“Four out of five times a week he’d be sitting there and wave,” Mr. Wilcox said. “That was the extent of our relationship, but he’d be waving every day.”

He said that when the roads had not been cleared for nearly a week after a snow storm several years ago, the father “put a snow plow on his truck and cleared a single lane.”

The blue pickup truck was parked on the street, its large rearview mirrors serving as anchors for yellow police tape that had been strung around the property line.

A gold minivan with an Old Dominion Soccer League sticker on its bumper was parked in the two-car driveway.

The front porch looked well used, with patio chairs and a table out front, along with a fire pit. A scooter, snowboard and sled were also leaning against the house.

Tuesday afternoon, neighborhood parents hurried home with their children as they were dropped off by the school bus. Some mothers appeared emotional while a few students looked curious and confused.

Sherry Webster was watching the investigation while she waited for her son to come home from school. She said he was a classmate of one of the sons when the boys were younger and she didn’t know how her son would take the news.

Ms. Webster said the husband was “burly” and his wife was “small, cute. She was full of energy, talkative, lively.”

Ronnie Johnson, who knew the family through a soccer league, said the people were great and the father “was genuinely a nice person.”

He remembered the two sons as “very active. They played all different sports.”

“This is just ridiculous,” he added. “So sad.”

Ed Swanson, who lives about five houses down, said the father was a “good neighbor, a good guy” and that it was a “good family.”

“It’s a shock,” he said, and there was “no sign of any issues, no signs you can see.”

He said the children in the neighborhood all played together.

“We’re a pretty good neighborhood. We’ll come together,” he said. “How do you react to something like this? It’s terrible.”

Wanda Brown, who’s lived in the neighborhood for about 12 years, said the family was well known for its inflatable Christmas decorations, and the yard was always filled with bikes and sporting equipment.

“I’m shocked,” she said. “You just go, ‘What?’ “