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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Family members said they are devastated by the deaths of a Shaker Heights couple and twin children in a suspected murder-suicide Sunday, and said the father had been depressed over losing his job and the recent death of the family dog.
John Tobin, 57, sent an alarming email to his parents shortly before Shaker Heights police officers found him dead in a home on South Woodland Road near Torrington Road, according to records released Monday morning. Officers also found Regina Tobin, 58; and 15-year-old twins Natalie Tobin and Graham Tobin dead in the home.
The medical examiner’s office has not said how the four died. It said Regina, Natalie and Graham Tobin died in suspected homicides, but did not offer a manner of death for John Tobin.
John Tobin’s father, Hudson philanthropist Phil Tobin, said his family is shocked and saddened by the tragedy.
“It’s devastating,” Phil Tobin said Monday morning. “It’s almost unimaginable.”
Phil Tobin called the Shaker Heights Police Department on Sunday to report that he received an alarming email from his son. John Tobin’s email asked his parents to call the police department and request a welfare check at his home, according to a recording of the call released Monday morning.
Phil Tobin said he’s also devastated by the loss of his daughter-in-law Regina and his twin grandchildren Natalie and Graham. The family lived across the street from John Tobin’s parents in Hudson before relocating to Shaker Heights about one year ago, Phil Tobin said.
“They just warmed my heart when they came by,” he said.
A family member from Regina Tobin’s side of the family declined to comment Monday but said relatives are heartbroken.
John Tobin suffered from depression, and earlier this year lost his job at University Hospitals, his father said. A UH spokesman confirmed John Tobin had been vice president of development in the Harrington Discovery Institute, but declined to offer any additional comment.
John Tobin previously served as the vice president of marketing for the American Endowment Foundation, a pioneering sponsor of donor-advised funds that his father founded in 1993. He joined his father’s next endeavor, iGiftFund, before moving to UH in 2017.
The recent death of the Tobins’ family dog, who broke his back after falling into a culvert, also added to John Tobin’s depression, his father said.
“He had depression,” Phil Tobin said. “It’s just hard to imagine that it rose to that level of severity.”
Phil Tobin said the tragedy is especially difficult to comprehend because his son did not have any known issues with his wife and children.
“He loved his family. He could not have been a better father,” Phil Tobin said. “That’s what makes it so difficult.”
Graham Tobin was an incoming freshman at Gilmour Academy, a private school in Gates Mills, Head of School Kathy Kenny said in a statement.
“We are devastated by this tragic news,” Kenny said in the statement. “Graham was a member of our incoming freshman class and expressed so much positive anticipation during last week’s freshman orientation. Our prayers are with the entire extended Tobin family.”
Natalie Tobin was a freshman at the Laurel School, Head of Laurel School Ann V. Klotz said in a statement.
“Our hearts are broken,” Klotz said. “Natalie came to Laurel in the Eighth Grade—a bookworm, scholar and volleyball player, she was a gentle, warm and thoughtful friend, looking forward with joy to Upper School.”
Neighbors in Shaker Heights said Monday that they did not know the Tobin family well because they moved to the area fairly recently. They described the Tobin family as friendly, and said they could be seen walking the family dog in the neighborhood.