‘I’m not a monster’: The 19-page suicide letter mother-of-four left before killing her husband, 38, son, 7, and herself when she was about to get caught embezzling $80,000 from her job
Facing a possible 15 years in prison for grand theft, 35-year-old Stephanie Hoover shot and killed her husband, Rob Hoover, and their son, Zachary, at their South Dakota home before committing suicide in Sept, 2017
Investigators said the bodies of Rob Hoover, 38, and Zachary Hoover, 7 were found shot to death on September 26 at their Lennox, South Dakota home
Stephanie also died at the home from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, but left copious notes detailing her crimes and motives
She acknowledged embezzling at least $80,000 from her employer and feared going to prison, if exposed by an impending audit
Rob had to die because he lacked parenting skills and financial savvy, to take care of the family
Seven-year-old Zachary was condemned because he would sometimes ‘struggle to deal with behavioural issues,‘ so she could take him along with her to Heaven
A self-serving suicide letters left behind by a murderous South Dakota mother-of-four with a god-complex is shedding light on motives as police try to uncover why she shot and killed her husband and son before turning the gun on herself.
Stephanie Hoover, [photo, left], wrote a 19-page suicide letter detailing why she killed her husband of 11 years as well as her 7-year-old son seven months ago.
Responding officers to the family’s Lennox, S. Dakota home, found the bodies of 38-year-old Rob Hoover, seven-year-old Zachary Hoover and 35-year-old Stephanie Hoover on the morning of September 26, 2017.
Authorities have revealed that before her dastardly act, Stephanie Hoover wrote numerous suicide letters to her family before murdering her husband and one of their sons.
In a carefully laid plot, Stephanie convinced her husband Rob Hoover, a few days before the murder-suicide took place, to update their wills to state that if something were to happen to both of them her parents would become trustees, personal representatives and the guardians of their children.
After their wills were changed, she went out and bought a gun. police said.
The night before the killings, she dropped her one-year-old daughter off at parents’ house saying she and Rob had to work early the next day. The morning of September 26, she took Ashton and Mason to school, leaving Zachary at home.
The message left for Stephanie’s parents, was the mother-of-four apologizing for ruining her ‘perfect family’ before explaining why she felt she had to kill her husband and young son, the Argus Leader reports.
‘Dear Mom (& Dad). I owe you an explanation. I’ve done something that I’m so sorry for and so ashamed of, and it has cost me my family and future,’ began the 19-page suicide letter Stephanie Hoover wrote detailing why she killed her husband Rob [photo, right] and son, Zachary, in September.
Stephanie then went on to explain how she had embezzled at least $80,000 from her employer over the last three-and-a-half years.
‘I know it’s a lot and didn’t go to anything extravagant. We financed our cars & camper and vacations and furniture were paid by tax returns and house sale. It’s just amazing how fast money flies out of the account for bills and other expenses,’ the first page of the letter read. ‘I’ve never been able to find a balance – I work more and have to pay more daycare. I work less and don’t have enough money.’
Stephanie said she was struggling with how to balance work and taking care of her family and
Stephanie, who worked as an accounts receivable specialist at Southridge Healthcare, expressed a fear of going to prison when she learned that her job was being audited.
She had sought advice from a lawyer and was told she could spend up to 15 years in prison for grand theft.
Flawed logic: Stephanie Hoover killed her husband, son child and herself after embezzling from her employers because she felt she was the only one in the family with the capacity to make things right
According to the letter, she was worried that if she went to prison her husband, a group home manager for Southeastern Behavioral Health in Sioux Falls, would not be able to provide for the family.
‘Rob can’t take care of the kids alone, let alone provide for them,’ she wrote, citing his parenting skills and finances. ‘They’d lose the house and have nothing.’
In another portion of the letter Stephanie wrote about Zachary’s behaviour issues.
Her seven-year-old son, who was a twin, was a ‘beautiful soul’ but ‘a struggle to deal with’.
‘He’s better off with his momma in heaven where I can take care of him and be at peace,’ she wrote.
The tasked her parents with ensuring her three surviving children, 10-year-old Ashton, Mason, 7, and one-year-old baby Madelyn got to know how much she loved them.
‘Please don’t let them know what I’ve done if possible, or try to explain. I’m not a monster, Stephanie wrote.
‘I just wanted my kids to be cared for and loved.’…. ‘I’m sorry I had the perfect family, house, everything – and I ruined it all. I pray that you can forgive me’ she concluded
Detectives said Stephanie came up with her plan roughly two months before that fateful September 26 day.
Embezzling mom Stephanie Hoover allegedly, killed her seven-year-old son Zachary, because ‘he had behavioural issues and she could better take care of him in Heaven’
Stephanie reportedly shot Rob three times while he was standing at their kitchen counter. Seven-year-old Zachary who was on the couch wearing headphones and playing a game, was shot four times.
In her suicide letter Stephanie noted that he son had behavioural issues and she could better take care of him in Heaven. Father and son were later pronounced dead at the scene.
Her shooting plan accomplished, Stephanie packed up various items she thought her other three children would need, placed them in her van and left the vehicle parked in the driveway of her mother’s home, about half-mile away. She was seen that morning walking from her parents’ house back to her Lennox home.
The Hoover family home is cordoned off with crime scene tape after the murders
Once she was back at her house, the killer sent her mother a text message telling her to call 911 and not to come to the home, detectives said. – Within minutes, both police and her mom were at the house. Too late, Stephanie had already shot herself when they arrived.
Detectives said the other suicide letters Stephanie left were for her remaining three children, her brothers, and for investigators.
Lincoln County Sheriff Dennis Johnson said his office are still investigating, but they believe it was the murder-suicide.