Family of five found murdered in Sheffield home

(Photo by Ed Harvey)
Firefighters respond to a structure fire on Home Road in Sheffield Wednesday morning.

SHEFFIELD — When the first firefighters arrived at the house at 1343 Home Road shortly before 8 o’clock on Wednesday morning, smoke was billowing out of the upstairs bedroom windows. But there was an eerie quiet.

Surely at that time of the morning the inhabitants would have been up, out on the lawn, waiting for the fire trucks. But there was only silence.

When firefighters began to search the house, they came upon a grisly scene. The father, Luke Karpinski, 41, his wife, Justine Wilbur, and their three children, Alex, Zoe, and Merek, were found dead.

A responding officer confirmed they suspected foul play, and according to law enforcement officials, the upstairs bedroom fires apparently had been set to cover up the murders.

Investigators aren’t saying whether they found any evidence to suggest who may have committed the murders, or what the possible motive could be.

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Sheffield’s Town Hall Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington asked the gathered reporters for their patience while state and local police work to piece together what evidence they have.

“It’s a very involved investigation and it’s going to take us some time before we can get you more information, but I assure you that as soon as we are able to provide you with additional information the district attorney’s office will do so,” Harrington said. But that’s all that she would say.

In little more than an hour, firefighters were able to extinguish the upstairs fire before it spread to the other parts of the house.

One prominent Sheffield official, pointing out the death of the young woman who perished in the Ethiopian plane crash and now the murders of an entire family, said he was brought to tears considering all the tragic news about Sheffield residents over the past few days. “Who can believe it? Here in Sheffield,” he said.

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