Family speaks out after apparent murder-suicide

Family photo, Providence Police Department photo
Family photo, Providence Police Department photo

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — “This is not a time to blame. This is a time to reflect on how easily a life is gone and those left behind are shattered.”

Those words, written by Karen McLaughlin, came in response to the death of her sister over the weekend in an apparent murder-suicide.

According to police, MaryJo Osgood, 55, was found dead in the trunk of her husband’s car along the New Jersey Turnpike. Investigators believe she was shot and killed Friday in the garage of the home she shared with her husband, former Providence Police Officer Franklin Osgood, 61.

Police began their investigation on Saturday after they were contacted by the couple’s children. The children said they received a phone call from their father and he appeared to be in a “disturbed state,” according to police.

“He had spoken to another one of his children and had expressed his sorrow and sympathy for what he had done, and expressed every intent to harm himself,” said Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements.

Officers responded to the couple’s Eaton Street home, but by that time, police said Osgood was several states away with his wife’s body in the trunk.

New Jersey police tried to pull over Osgood’s vehicle, but he took off, crashed, then used a gun to take his own life, according to police. Col. Clements said he was in contact with a friend on the force during his drive south.

“He kept shutting his phone off and not indicating his location, and then would call again and have a decent conversation with the officer and indicate his location as well,” the chief explained. “We were working on cellular forensic data to back up what he told us verbally.”

Franklin Osgood joined the Providence Police Department in 1995. He was in a disability pension battle between 2002 and 2007, when he left the force for good.

MaryJo Osgood’s family released a statement Sunday night with information about her. Known affectionately as “MJ,” the family said she grew up with eight siblings in Barrington. After graduating from Barrington High School, she enrolled in the U.S. Army and later worked at various law firms in Providence.

The family said Osgood is survived by four adult children, two grandsons, and her siblings – five sisters and three brothers.

“My sister was outgoing, bubbly, just a fun person to be around. She would bring life to the party when she walked in,” said the victim’s brother, Jim Buzzi. “I’m going to miss my sister.”

Below is the full statement released by MaryJo Osgood’s sister, Karen McLaughlin.

As the sun broke and the gray clouds came in, our family lost a most precious daughter, sister, mom and grandmother.

This is not a time to blame. This is a time to reflect on how easily a life is gone and those left behind are shattered.

Our family (along with the rest of this country) is sickened with the profound sadness that is epidemic from gun and domestic violence.

MaryJo was a bright energetic funny spunky part of so many lives. As she joins so many others in her eternal resting place, please understand that violence has no prejudice. When it strikes, it takes the very core of your heart.

We, MaryJo’s siblings, want her to be remembered as a sister who was loved, a mom and grandmother who devoted herself to her 4 children and 2 grandchildren. All of us deserved to have her in our lives for a long time.

David E. Barry, Managing Partner of Pierce Atwood LLP, the law firm where MaryJo Osgood had been working, released a statement Monday.

“MaryJo Osgood was a talented and well-respected colleague who will be greatly missed. She was held in the highest regard by her coworkers and was a pleasure to work with. We are all deeply saddened by the events of this past weekend and our thoughts and prayers are with her children and family.”

Lucy Rios, with the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said murder-suicides involving spouses are usually the culmination of months or years of abuse.

“The act of murdering your spouse is the ultimate act of domestic violence,” said Rios. “Victims of domestic violence, when the perpetrator is a police officer, they’re definitely at increased risk, because a police officer knows where the safe homes are, how to monitor people. They’re trained in weapons and surveillance.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the family.

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