Sometimes people slightly show their true colors that when they finally reach their breaking point; no one is surprised. These people share how the people they knew gave off red flag after red flag, and now they just wish they'd said something sooner.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
The Moment He Was A Nice, Loving Father, They Knew Something Was Wrong
“My paternal grandparents died in a murder-suicide. My grandfather shot my grandmother in their kitchen and then went outside and hanged himself on a tree, and my father discovered them when he got home from school.
This all happened before I was born and my father’s side of the family wasn’t involved in my life until I was an adult. I first heard about this from my mother when I was probably about 13; she told me that my father told her this, but that she didn’t know whether or not it was true (my dad, apparently, was a compulsive liar). However, when I got in touch with my half-sibling and my father’s siblings, they confirmed it. This happened in the late 1950s. According to them, my grandfather was always a moody person. He would go days at a time not speaking to anyone and do nothing but drink alone; he hated it when anyone would try to bother him or talk to him. My grandmother was meek, a bit of a shut-in, and while she was more affectionate to the family than my grandfather she also pretty much kept to herself and didn’t do anything more than she had to for the kids. My father’s siblings told me that there was domestic violence in their relationship and that the most emotion they ever saw my grandfather show was when he was screaming at/hitting my grandmother. She would try to get him to eat dinner or ask him for money to go grocery shopping or something small, and he’d just snap, grab her and shake her, and start screaming at her about why she wouldn’t just leave him alone.
The day the murder-suicide happened my father’s siblings told me it was strange. My grandfather joined them for breakfast before it was time for them to go to school, which was odd because he never ate meals with them and they remember specifically that he thanked my grandmother when she put his plate down. He then walked with them to the bus stop and watched them get on the bus, waving at them as it left. They’ve told me that that’s what they remember the most about that day, how nice and attentive he was because it was so out of the ordinary.
They’ve all said that they think he already knew what he was going to do that morning when they left for school. One of my father’s sisters told me that it wasn’t even shocking that he would kill himself or their mother and that the only thing surprising about it was that she never thought he’d shoot her. She always thought he’d end up strangling her to death or going too far while he was shaking her and ‘bash her head into a wall or something.'”
She Judged Only By Skin, Not Their Character
“Technically, my grandmother is a non-convicted murderer, and it was not remotely unexpected to any of us. She grew up in a farming family that provided known monetary support to the Klan, and with over 1,000 acres, much of it woodland, they hosted multiple Klan events, which allowed them to hide out from the cops when the crackdowns began. I know for a fact that the grandmother and her husband were in the Klan. They held multiple outdoor rallies behind the house I grew up in; there was a hill and a tree line blocking the five-acre field, one ‘tractor road’ in or out. There were also multiple lynchings held nearby, in the past, not during my lifetime. I loved growing up surrounded by oak and pine forests, but once I learned the history of this place, I never could shake it.
She is in her late 80s, incredibly racist, cruel, hateful, and frequently exhibits psychopathic symptoms by mocking the suffering of anyone she deems ‘inferior.’
A few years ago she was driving to a church meeting around sunset, and killed a 90-year-old African American man by hitting him with her car, more than once. She claimed he was lying in the road, but that was a lie, though he was walking in the middle of it, and that she thought he ‘was a trash bag.’ Upon impact, she then backed up over him in her truck, with front and back tires.
Notably, she avoided ALL criminal charges, she even kept her license, yes, she is still driving to this day. This did happen in North Carolina, This is a small community, population wise. Almost all former smoke farmers or current/former dairy farmers, one winery, a few vegetable farms. Even though she avoided criminal charges, she did, however, lose a civil case, and said the following as she left the courtroom ‘Killing a [racial epithet] didn’t use to be so expensive.’
I am sorry that all of this is a true story, growing up next to her was as terrible as you would expect, and I got out as soon as humanly possible.”
He Was “The Most Unstable Red Flag Guy” He Knew
“Australian here. My cousin’s stepbrother was the most unstable red flag guy we knew. He locked his wife in the attic and laughed about it while we visited. He wouldn’t let us talk to her without shouting through the ceiling. We called the police on him, and they came. All that happened was a bit of talk, she was allowed down, then the next day she’d ‘been in a car accident’ and in hospital, although both their cars were fine.
He was the stereotypical road rager too, and though as I understand it, there’s not as strong a link between steroid abuse and anger issues as once thought, he fit the stereotype. He put both his older daughters in the hospital when they left with their mum, and took a pair of weapons to his wife’s parents’ house and threatened that if they didn’t tell him where she was, he had a round for each kid.
He drew a knife on both my dad and uncle and my dad pressed charges.
We watched their domestic life from a safe distance and wondered just why the heck they were still together; there was so much hatred and fear. What we saw was only part of it.
I joked to my dad that that marriage would end in a murder. About six years ago, his wife was making moves to get her and the kids out again, and he picked up their infant son and a round from the weapon, and asked her to pick which of their three kids he was to shoot first, because if she left then she had to pay with one of the kids’ lives. Then he’d come after her.
So she served him sleeping tablets in curried prawns and shot him in the head twice as he dozed, dumped his body and set fire to it.
I didn’t expect the murder to go that way.”
If Only His Mother Had Been Around
“My cousin always had problems. His mother abandoned him for several years when he was young, and his father was old school ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ in a borderline abusive way. He got into illegal substances early and showed signs of psychosis as early as his late teens after he began using prescriptions. He began to talk about scenarios like he was the reincarnation of our dead grandfather’s soul and he was going to come ‘collect’ our still living grandmother.
When he began doing smack, he stole from his mother and stepfather. When I was 14, he gave me acid and told me it was just like grass. He was never violent but inappropriate with boundaries like breaking into family members’ houses without asking while they weren’t home and just chilling there and other strange things like that. He rarely held down a job for more than a few months.
He cleaned up, had a baby, and got some health care a year or two back. We thought he was doing better, but he relapsed on smack and shot into a car with six people in it. He killed one woman and injured three.”
This Football Star Seemed To Have It All
“I went to high school and played football with a guy who randomly killed a guy with a machete. He was honestly one of the nicest people I’ve met and funny and genuine. He did have an odd home life. He lived with adopted parents but still had a relationship with his mom, who lived nearby. All of a sudden one day, she takes him back into custody, and he doesn’t go to school with us anymore.
This dude was insanely good at football, like NFL good. He played at Texas A&M for two seasons before freaking out, and running away from campus and dropping out of school. That was when things started getting weird. He then was in and out of jail for various charges, relating to substance abuse, grand theft auto, and domestic disturbance. I remember one day I read an article in which his mom was saying how he was trying to play football again. Then about a year later, the next article I read said he randomly murdered a guy with a machete on a jogging trail and called the police on himself. He was just recently found unable to stand trial, and is undergoing psychiatric treatment.”
They Knew That Twitch In His Eye Was Up To No Good
“A high school acquaintance’s dad came home one day and killed his wife then shot himself on the front lawn. I heard the shots. I had met the dad maybe once or twice prior, and you could tell he just wasn’t all there… He was, I don’t know, twitchy? Like when he was contemplating something his eyes would bug out of his head and dart all over the room instead of just staring off into space like the majority of people do. When you asked him a question, it would be like you were startling him. He acted a lot like a tweaker, but we knew he didn’t do illegal substances.
The warning signs were all there. The mom/wife was always quiet and never made eye contact with anyone. The kids lied about stupid stuff at school just to get someone to pay attention to them for a little bit. From what I’ve heard they’re doing better now with coping about their lost parents.”
She Was Always Terrified For Her Life
“I have two experiences.
1) My freshman year we were held on lockdown for three hours due to a boy bringing a weapon to school. He had murdered his parents the night before and another student at two different locations and intended to take out all of his friends and ex-girlfriend before killing himself. He told the police that he was only going to kill his friends, so they didn’t have to hurt after he died. It was all over the ex-girlfriend. She told him she was pregnant to get money from him and told her boyfriend (the boy he killed) that it was his. She moved several states away after it happened. It’s still an open case because there apparently may have been other people involved due to evidence that the boy was dragged out of his house (there were scratch marks on the doorframe and spent shells through his yard, leading into the woods where he was found). The school still tries to say it was a suicide despite the police saying otherwise.
2) The boy did not commit murder, but I need to share because my school handled it so poorly. I was in a long-term relationship in high school. I broke up with the boy my senior year and began talking to someone else. Being in ROTC meant I had many male friends who were rather close, one of them being a fellow who asked me to prom. I declined, saying that I was going with the other guy and then he got huffy but seemed fine. The next day he showed me a picture of the pig he killed with a sledgehammer and said it was nothing personal and that he had to get it out of his system so he ‘wouldn’t make a mistake.’ School administration said I was overreacting and that he’s a ‘good boy.’ They wouldn’t even let me switch class hours despite being terrified.”
He Couldn’t Even Get Along With Animals
“I knew a guy for a little while.
He was shorter than average but very broad and strong, kind of like a troll. Pretty ugly face, upturned nostrils like a pig. His older brother (who was gay and seemed pretty normal) was terrified of him. He liked to start fires and torture animals when he was a kid; he’d already killed some kittens and puppies. For some reason the more helpless the animal, the more he loved hurting it. I don’t know if he used to wet the bed or not; I only know about the fires and animals because his brother told me. He’d torture people too if he thought he could get away with it – one time back in the ’80s before all the trains had fully automatic doors a train started pulling out as he was walking down the platform. He saw someone standing near the door and manage to grab his arm and started pulling on it – as the train was just taking off. The guy was screaming; who knows what might have happened. I’m not sure if he let go or lost his grip.
He was fascinated by bike gangs, armor, and weapons, especially old swords. He said if he’d been born in the medieval ages he would have been a knight (and maybe he would – he was built like one). He had quite a few knives and used to get all these magazines about weapons.
His father was a smack dealer. They moved houses regularly; they’d stay in the same neighborhood but move to a house a few blocks away. They had strange stuff – lots of hidden weapons. For example a bed with a false bedhead; if you did something it folded back and there was a weapon inside.
They also had a living room table with a removable top. Hidden inside the central pillar was a sawn-off weapon. There were other weapons around the house; I think about 8 in all, mostly hidden in weird but accessible places.
His mum was the head night nurse at a hospital. That may have been where they got some of the prescriptions to sell; I don’t know. Or maybe just raw materials? She seemed weird.
No girl wanted anything to do with him voluntarily; so after a few years of frustration, he resorted to assault. He went around to witnesses and gave them a ‘story’ to tell; you either told the story or you wouldn’t live to regret it.
Somehow they got him anyway, thank god. I never heard of him again after that. That was about 30 years ago.
Hope he’s dead. I cannot imagine anyone missing him.”
They’d Always Regret Not Mentioning This Mother’s Dark Intentions
“I was an acquaintance of the victim and met their murderer several times. This girl I went to high school with always seemed friendly and was talented with the violin (this was a performing arts school). We were never really friends, but I was close to a good friend of her’s.
Her mother was extremely psychotic and had just divorced her husband. She would frequently talk about the apocalypse and various ways to kill herself, which freaked me out. The mother didn’t seem to be super controlling or strict, but she was buying and hoarding pain medication. The one memory that stands out to me is how she told my friend’s mother that she was planning on killing herself and her children to spite her husband. When Christmas break was over, I heard about how she took a weapon and shot the girl, her brother, and herself. I was not surprised, but upset that none of us ever spoke up about the warning signs.”
This Aunt Was Ready To Fight
“My aunt killed three people. Two were strangers that tried to violate her, with one being successful, and the other was her brother.
She was always aggressive and had strong views when it came to violence against people. For example, she always used to say she didn’t understand why people fight or are surprised when someone dies because it’s an automatic life or death scenario and one has to win. She also had ticks, like whenever you woke her up or surprised her, she would have her fists balled and be in a fight stance. One time, she sucker punched me with the force of the gods, and that was the last time I woke her up. I used to think her views on death were funny because she was so nonchalant and even got upset when people asked her why she wasn’t emotional after some funerals of close friends and relatives.
I also knew a kid in middle school who tried to rob the house of an elder couple and ended up killing them. That kid had some anger issues though.”
He Could Tell His Brother Was Born With Dark Intentions
“My younger brother snapped and killed my mother and himself. He also tried and failed to go after my sisters, who were in the house at the time.
In retrospect, our entire family suffers from some degree of mental disorder. He was the one who suffered the most from it, and in hindsight, there were a lot of things that could have prevented what happened. Our dad ended up offing himself after he turned abusive towards our mom and she moved to get a divorce. We were all young, and my brother was only 2 years old, so he grew up without a father. Our mom always had to work to provide for all of us, so we were left to our own devices for the most part.
My sisters and I would always treat him poorly, it started off as just being directed towards the youngest sibling, and grew from there into us always having a strained relationship. My youngest sister always got into spats with him, he or she would always instigate arguments with one another. In time he ended up growing isolated and was always the odd one out. He was hard to get along with and inherited our dad’s short temper and stubbornness.
When puberty hit, his mental health got worse. He became more and more argumentative, and he became louder and more threatening. At one point my mom ended up committing him to a children’s psych ward for a time. She was convinced that my father suffered from schizophrenia and that my brother had inherited that. In retrospect, I think it was truly a combination of anxiety, depression, and ADHD, all exacerbated by his upbringing.
Some time passed, and at one point my mom found that someone had broken into our basement. Nothing was stolen, but that was incentive enough for her to purchase a weapon for self-defense. I don’t remember the details, but at one point she gave him access to the key to the weapon safe and forgot to take it back. One night he was incredibly hard to deal with, she was at work, and he was texting her and being a jerk. She made the mistake of texting him flat out that she was going to have to commit him again. I still don’t know why she made that decision. He had said before he would kill himself before going back.
That night she went back home, and everything was seemingly normal. At some point, he brought the weapon out of his room and shot and killed her in the kitchen. My sisters were headed upstairs and ran and hid in their rooms, locking the doors. He went upstairs to kill them as well, but tried and failed to shoot the locks. I am thankful that he gave up after failing to shoot them out in the open, he could’ve have kicked open those doors with no trouble, but didn’t think to do so.
One sister escaped out of her window, but slipped on her way off the roof and broke her back, leaving her as a paraplegic. The other waited things out in her room until it was safe to leave and escaped through the other sister’s bedroom. The police were already there at that point and brought her a ladder to get down safely.
In the meantime, my brother had gone and shot himself in the bathroom. After some time, the SWAT team threw tear gas grenades through most of the windows and then breached the house, finding the bodies and bringing a close to the night’s violence.
I was in my apartment in another town, as I was away for college. I woke up that night to someone hammering on the apartment call button for my unit, but I ignored it as I figured it was one of my idiot friends. Then someone had let them into the building, and I heard them hammering on my door. Imagine my surprise to find three police officers at my door in the middle of the night. I thought I was caught, my apartment reeked of weed as I had just smoked a bowl earlier in the day, and I was still a minor.
Turns out they weren’t there for the pot, but to tell me that my mom had died. They did not give me more details than that, not that my brother had died or that he was behind it all. My younger sister had told them not to fill me in all at once, as I had to make my way down and she was worried that I would be too emotionally charged to drive safely in the snow. In the end, the police drove me to my friends’ house, and they took me down to my hometown, where I learned all the grisly details. I met with my younger sister, and we stayed the night at her boyfriends’ family’s house. We laid in bed crying and talking until the sun came up, then we watched cartoons with the family’s dogs in a light-hearted moment amidst the turmoil.
I think I’ll end the story there. There was a lot that could have changed the way things turned out, but of course, that is all in hindsight. Life doesn’t allow us do-overs, so we’ve just had to keep moving forward with what has been handed to us.”