In a tragic turn of events that unfolded on Tuesday night in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the victims of a harrowing murder-suicide have been identified as Brooke Raia and Blase Raia, a couple living with their five children. The incident has left the children orphaned just days before the Christmas holiday.
The PEOPLE, along with Fox and NBC’s WJAC, reported that authorities were alerted around 7:30 p.m. when police responded to a distress call. Upon arriving at the residence on Dartmouth Lane in Blair County, they discovered the lifeless bodies of 34-year-old Brooke Raia (formerly Zimmerman) and 39-year-old Blase Raia, both succumbing to apparent gunshot wounds.
According to Logan Township Police Chief Dave Hoover, evidence at the scene strongly suggests that the tragic deaths are linked to a domestic violence incident. The investigation reveals a heart-wrenching scenario where Blase allegedly shot Brooke in the head with a handgun before turning the weapon on himself in the basement of their Altoona home.
The grim discovery was made all the more poignant by the presence of four children in the residence at the time of the incident. The fifth child, upon returning home and confronting the tragic scene, promptly contacted the authorities.
In the aftermath of this devastating event, Blair County Children, Youth, and Family Services have intervened, placing the children under the care of family members to provide support during this incredibly challenging time. The community mourns the loss of two lives and rallies around the now-orphaned children, grappling with the sad reality just days before the festive season.