Christine McFadden was a successful veterinarian and mother of four children. Her oldest daughter, Melanie, was a ballet dancer, her sons Stanley and Stuart were both star athletes, and 5-year-old Michelle had dreams of becoming a veterinarian like her mom.
Nothing could have prepared Christine for the tragic events that unfolded on the morning of March 26, 2002. As she returned from her daily morning walk, she saw her ex-husband's vehicle parked in the driveway. Upon entering the home, Christine was horrified to find Melanie lifeless on the floor. An hour earlier, her ex-husband, John Hogan, had killed all four of her children before turning the gun on himself.
"I would have given anything just to go with my kids. Then I wouldn't have to feel all of this. My whole life—it's gone," Christine told Oprah when she appeared on The Oprah Show two years after the murders.
Still wrought with grief over the loss of her children, Christine told Oprah that she had set aside a date when she would decide whether she could continue living with her pain. "By setting a date, I both gave myself permission that if the pain just didn't change, that, that would be okay…I could go then," she said.
On the same show, Christine met Shelly Porter, a mother who had been through her own hell eight years earlier. Shelly's husband had also murdered her children, and she urged Christine to stay strong and let her children live on through her.
Hours after the show aired, Oprah says thousands of viewers wrote in to express how Christine touched their lives. Of the thousands, 16 people said that they had planned to commit suicide that day, but after seeing Christine's story, they chose to continue living.