CRIME

Four bodies found dead inside Herndon home

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Among the deceased were brothers Christopher Peterson, 13, (on left) and Matthew Peterson, 16. (Courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools)

The 57-year-old father of a Herndon family found dead killed his wife and two sons before taking his own life, authorities said Wednesday.

The bodies were found on Tuesday in a home in the 13000 block of Point Rider Lane. The deceased have been identified as Albert Peterson, 57, Kathleen Peterson, 52 and their two children, Matthew, 16 and Christopher, 13.

Authorities say that the victims were discovered after officers responded to a call for a welfare check at the home where they were found.

One of the family members hadn't gone to work in two days, sparking concern from the person's employer.

“This is a horrible tragedy,” said neighbor Jim Steele. “They seemed like a very nice family. Didn't see anything amiss around the house. It's quite a shock.”

Wednesday, friends and loved ones held several vigils for the Peterson family.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of students at Westfield High School, the school Matthew attended, gathered in front of the school to remember their friend.

“This is a loved family,” said Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris Church where the Petersons attended. “This is a family that today people missing terribly. There are students, there are adults, who are all expressing the same grief that they feel their lives are diminished.”

Neighbors told ABC7 they frequently saw the friendly couple out on their front porch.

“Sometimes when we had snowstorms and VDOT hadn't cleaned it or done a very good job, he would help out and clear people's driveways a little bit more,” said neighbor Ed Swanson. “He was a good neighbor. He was a good guy. A good family.”

A candlelight vigil was also held Wednesday night at Floris United Methodist Church, the family's church in Herndon, Va.

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