Hooksett murder-suicide1

Biohazard cleaning teams were at 39 Post Road in Hooksett on Friday, where state investigators say was the site of an apparent murder-suicide of Donald McLaughlin and his wife Diane on Thursday afternoon.

HOOKSETT — Autopsies have concluded a local couple found in their Post Road home on Thursday died in a murder-suicide, Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald and top law enforcement officials said Friday.

The deaths of Donald McLaughlin, 58, and his wife, Diane, 68, of 39 Post Rd., were the result of gunshot wounds, according to the autopsy results.

Hooksett police found the dead couple Thursday afternoon in the same room where a written will also was located, officials said.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said the will was typed and there was no indication that it had been written just prior to the murder-suicide.

Agati said it was unclear whether the will was for either individual or meant to cover the last intentions of both of them.

“It appears at this point that Mr. McLaughlin shot and killed his wife and then killed himself,” Agati said.

Investigators said they identified a revolver as the murder weapon, and there was no reason to believe the weapon was unlawfully possessed.

Associate Medical Examiner Christine R. James conducted the autopsies.

Agati stated that investigators have yet to determine a motive for Donald McLaughlin’s actions.

“At this point, I think it would be speculation if I were to try to guess,” he said. “Often in these kinds of cases we don’t find what a cause is, because it’s not immediately apparent what was going on in an individual’s mind when he decided to take the life of his wife and then take his own life. Hopefully there will be something on that later on, let’s say at a fatality review, that will kind of point to what some of the causes may have been.”

Agati said he had no knowledge of any criminal activity or history of domestic violence on the part of either of the McLaughlins.

On Thursday night, MacDonald, New Hampshire State Police Col. Christopher J. Wagner, and Hooksett Police Chief Janet Bouchard declared the deaths “untimely.”

Agati said police received a 911 call about 2:43 p.m. from an unidentified individual who found the deceased adults in the home.

Investigators believe the couple had been preparing to move out of state and that a closing on the sale of their home had been in the works, officials said.

There was no indication that anyone else was involved in the deaths.

Officials stressed Thursday there was no reason to believe the events represented an ongoing danger to the public.

On Thursday afternoon, state police established a major presence on Hooksett’s Post Road to conduct its criminal investigation.

Anyone who may have observed anything out of the ordinary near the home between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday is asked to notify Hooksett or state police.

The investigation continues, but no further information is expected until final toxicology testing is complete, officials said.


Union Leader Correspondent Travis Morin contributed to this report.