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Arizona Jewish family, Israeli Wife, in Murder-Suicide

By: JTA

Police have identified a Jewish family from Tempe, Ariz., the Butwins, as the subjects of a suspected murder-suicide.

Police said that James Butwin, a board member of his local synagogue, Temple Emanuel, was the primary suspect in the killing of his Israeli born wife and three daughters. The bodies were found on Saturday in a burning SUV registered to the Butwins after having been missing from the family home.

While authorities were working to identify the remains, the Pinal County sheriff said he believed the deaths were the work of a drug cartel, but police now believe James Butwin, 47, killed himself after killing his wife Yafit, 40, daughter Malissa, 16, and sons Daniel, 14, and Matthew, 7, according to the Tucson Citizen.

The Butwins were going through a divorce and James had serious financial and medical problems, the paper reported.

A crisis response team from Tempe’s Jewish Family & Children’s Services was dispatched to Temple Emanuel on Wednesday, the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix reported, and professionals were also sent to the East Valley Jewish Community Center, where the youngest Butwin child was to have been a summer camper. Team members were planning to offer counseling to those attending a 7 p.m. service of grief at the Reform congregation on Wednesday.

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