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SACO, Maine — Maine police are officially calling the death of five people in this town a quadruple murder-suicide.

Police said Joel Smith, 33, shot his family inside their apartment Saturday around 11:30 p.m. before turning the gun on himself.

Jason Montez, 12, and Noah Montez, 7, were shot to death in their separate bedrooms. Thirty-five-year-old Heather Smith and 4-year-old Lily Smith were shot in the parents' bed. Joel Smith's body was found on the floor nearby, a 12-gauge shotgun by his side.

Police said they did not find a suicide note in what is considered one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine's history.

Police described Joel Smith as a suicidal man who was having financial problems.

Investigators said the wife had told a family friend the night of the shooting that Joel Smith recently had threatened suicide. The friend later contacted an apartment complex worker to express concerns about the family's well-being, leading to the grisly discovery, investigators said.

In a statement Sunday, state police said "all indications are that no one outside of the family was responsible for the deaths."

The family had domestic issues and financial problems, said Sgt. Christopher Harriman, a state police detective.

The family had moved from Arizona because of the sour economy, said Joel Smith's mother, Jerys Caruthers-Thorpe, of Scottsdale, Ariz. Heather Smith also was getting help for substance abuse, Caruthers-Thorpe said.

"I know something had to have snapped because Joel never would have done that in his right mind," she told The Associated Press.

Neighbors described the father as well known in the apartment complex along the Saco River because he worked for a company that provided maintenance services. They said he was friendly and outgoing.

Only recently, Caruthers-Thorpe said, her son had realized his wife was suffering from addiction, and they'd talked about moving back to Phoenix.

"They were having problems, serious problems," she said. "They were in the process of trying to get some help."

Many people who knew the family described Smith as friendly and outgoing, an assessment shared by his mother. "He was very talented, and artistic, and a perfectionist, and a very devoted family man," she said.

Saco, a town of 18,400, is about 20 miles south of Portland.

Maine State Police said this is the sixth time that four people have been killed in a multiple homicide in Maine since 1941. The last time was in September 2006 at a Newry bed and breakfast.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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