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'It's a bad dream that doesn't end': Friends, family of Grand Forks mother, 3 children in shock after family's death

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Photo from GoFundMe page created by Astra Volk2 / 2

GRAND FORKS - More questions continue to pop up about the deaths of a mother and her three kids in what police believe to be a triple murder-suicide.

One of the questions being: could this have been prevented?

The mother of the three kids made a public plea for help - saying she couldn't afford the mental health help her family needed.

“It’s just a bad dream that doesn’t end,” said family friends Keirya Bouton and Azure Gramps.

The crime tape has since been replaced with a growing memorial. Friends of the family are still in shock.

“It's unreal, we just saw them the night before,” Gramps said.

Gramps and her daughter Keirya had become close with their new neighbors, 35-year-old Astra Volk and her three children; Arianna, 6; Aidan, 10; and Tyler, 14. 

Gramps would bring Arianna to school and Keirya would babysit the kids. They had all hung out the night before after Volk and her kids had gotten back from having dinner at a restaurant.

“They seemed fine, we had a conversation and everything, Astra was cuddling with your cat, she was not depressed by any means, none of them were.”

Azure made her routine drive past the house on Thursday morning at 7:45 to pick up Arianna - but she kept driving and saw Volk's car in the driveway.       

“I assumed she was going to be taking her,” said Gramps.

Only to find out a couple hours later that Volk and her three children were dead from an apparent murder-suicide. Police have not said who pulled the trigger.

Just days before, Volk created a GoFundMe page asking for money due to hospital stays for herself and her boys.

On the page, Volk requested financial help for mental health conditions such as autism, bipolar disorder, and manic depression.

“She would never do that in front of her kids, or take her kids with her. Their lives were the number one thing to her. She went above and beyond for them,” Gramps said.

What has shocked many is the discovery of a gun inside the home.

“She didn’t believe in them, so she wouldn’t have one,” said Gramps

So as police work to try and piece together the mystery of what happened inside the home, those answers will never bring total closure to one of the worst crimes to rock the city.

“Regardless of what happened, it’s four lives lost. Doesn't matter how they were lost," Gramps said.

Police say it will likely be weeks before they know exactly what happened.

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