A family of four was found dead inside its Shaker Heights home the afternoon of Aug. 30, in what has been ruled as a murder-suicide.
Shaker Heights police responded to a request to make a welfare check at 2:20 p.m. and found Regina Tobin, 58; John Tobin, 57, and their children, Natalie and Graham Tobin, both 15, dead inside the home in the 18000 block of South Woodland Road.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled Sept. 2, John Tobin died of an intra-oral gunshot wound, which was determined a suicide. Graham and Regina Tobin died of gunshot wounds to the head, which were ruled homicides abated by suicide. Natalie Tobin died due to strangulation, ruled homicide abated by suicide.
Identifying himself as John Tobin’s father in a dispatch call Aug. 30, Phil Tobin said he received an email from his son suggesting something “might be sort of dangerous.”
Warning: The following 911 call could be traumatic for listeners. This call has been edited to remove some personal information.
He read the email from John Tobin, dated that morning: “Dear mom and dad, when you get this, please call Shaker police. ... address is 18100 South Woodland. The key was under the front mat. It is safe for them to enter, they will know what to do. No words can assuage the pain I’ve caused you. Know that it was from love, forgive me, I love you. Know that we are together forever.”
Phil Tobin said, “It sounds like he’s committed suicide,” asking Shaker Heights police to do a welfare check. He also told the dispatcher his son is “quite depressed,” and that depression ran in the family – “although he is not being treated for it.” He also said John had lost his job, his wife is recovering from cancer and their dog just died. In the call, he said he didn’t know if Regina and the children were in town, as they often went to Chicago.
There were no signs of forced entry at the house, according to a news release from Shaker Heights police, and there were no additional suspects.
Graham Tobin was a freshman at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills and Natalie Tobin was a freshman at Laurel School in Shaker Heights.
“We are devastated by this tragic news,” said Kathy Kenny, head of school at Gilmour Academy, in a statement. “Graham was a member of our incoming freshman class and expressed so much positive anticipation during last week’s freshman orientation. Our prayers are with the entire extended Tobin family.”
Laurel School also released a statement.
“Our hearts are broken. Natalie came to Laurel in the eighth grade – a bookworm, scholar and volleyball player, she was a gentle, warm and thoughtful friend, looking forward with joy to Upper School,” said Ann V. Klotz, head of Laurel School, in a statement.
“In the face of tragedy, the loss of a child is devastating, and the sudden and horrific loss of a family is excruciating. Our counseling team will be available to support our girls as the school processes its sorrow. The Laurel community holds the extended Tobin family and Natalie’s friends in our hearts.”