George Heckman and Grant Heckman, were found dead from gunshot wounds inside a van on a track road, west of Carson City, Michigan, on June 19
George Heckman, 52, (pictured) and Grant Heckman, 28, both of Westphalia, were found dead from gunshot wounds inside a van on a track road, west of Carson City, on Monday
Double tragedy struck a community in Michigan, Monday as the popular principal of a local school killed himself and his adult disabled son in a tragic murder-suicide.
After 20 years as the principal of Pewamo Elementary School George Heckman was 10 days away from his new job as superintendent for Pewamo-Westphalia Community Schools when he allegedly took his own life
George Heckman, 52, and Grant Heckman, 28, both of Westphalia, were found dead from gunshot wounds inside a van on a track road, west of Carson City, on Monday.
Michigan State Police confirmed they were investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide.
Police were altered after Heckman, the longtime principal of Pewamo-Westphalia Elementary School, did not arrive for a Monday night school board meeting.
Officers were able to track down the principal by pinging his cellphone and found him and his son in the van.
Friends and family were shocked by the news, but some say they can understand what drove him to it.
in an interview with MLive Janet Pohl, who along with her husband Luke, is a longtime friend of Heckman, say she believes he did it ‘out of love for his son and not wanting him to suffer’.
‘I don’t condone what George did, I don’t think anyone condones it, but I understand it. I’m sorry to say I understand it, I wish I didn’t,’ she said
Pohl and her husband are also parents of a child with disabilities, and said that Heckman ‘saw his son suffer too much, too long.’
Grant was born with cerebral palsy, had severe neurological disabilities, was non verbal and confined to a wheelchair.
He was ‘as helpless as helpless could be,’ Pohl said. ‘Everything had to be done for him,’ she said.
George Heckman was the principal of Pewamo-Westphalia Elementary School for two decades. He was due to move on to an elevated position as area schools superintendent 10 days from the day he killed himself
He was also suffering with painful ulcers from inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis.
Grant required constant care from Heckman – who cared for him along with his wife Jeanne Heckman, and two other kids, Claudia and Sam.
Pohl said she had wished that Heckman had opened up a more about the struggles he was facing caring for Grant.
Many friends and coworkers had no idea about the difficulties of caring for a severely disabled boy.
He was simply known as a positive and uplifting leader in the area. Heckman was due to take over as superintendent for Pewamo-Westphalia Community Schools at the end of June after 20 years as an elementary school principal for 20 years.
A funeral will be held for Heckman and his son on Friday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Westphalia.