On Sept. 1, 2013, the Sarasota Police department revealed the identities of a mother and toddler involved in an apparent murder suicide. Authorities stated that 35-year-old Sarah Harnish shot and killed her 17-month-old daughter Josephine Boice, early Sunday morning, before turning the gun on herself. Identities of the mother and child had been kept from the public until the next of kin had been notified. Authorities initially stated the child’s age as 10-months-old, but on further inquiry announced she was actually 17-months-old. A motive for the killing has not been given.
ABC Action News spoke with several neighbors in the Sarasota neighborhood who shed tears of sadness and expressed shock and dismay over the senseless tragedy. Reports state the child’s father had been out and returned to the home at approximately 9:45 a.m., when he heard the sound of gunfire and called 911. Harnish was pronounced dead at the scene, but Boice clung to life and was transferred to All Children’s Hospital in serious condition. She later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital. It is unclear whether Harnish has a history of mental illness, drug use or if there was violence in the home before this fatal incident.
While it is unclear what events led up to the murder, suicide, one unidentified neighbor spoke with Bay News 9 and described Harnish as appearing unhappy in recent days.
You may see a video report from ABC Action News here.