VANCEBORO, N.C. (WNCT) – Family and friends gathered Friday afternoon to remember a Craven County woman and her children who are victims of a murder-suicide.

A funeral service was held for April Nicole Ireland and her children, Jason, 4, Bryson 3, and Caroline who was eight-months-old.

It happened around 2 p.m. at Spring Garden Baptist Church where an attendee told 9OYS the family was active church members.

Investigators said Michael Jay Ireland, the husband, and father, killed his family in their Vanceboro home last week, before taking his own life.

Deputies found the bodies while doing a welfare check Friday afternoon. Investigators said the family was killed sometime between Wednesday and Friday.

Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes described the scene as unforgettable.

The family will be laid to rest at Sand Hill Cemetery in Reelsboro according to an obituary from the Cotton Funeral Home in New Bern.


VANCEBORO, N.C. A man kills four members of his own family in their Vanceboro home, before turning the gun on himself, deputies said.

Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes confirmed Michael Jason Ireland, 39 killed his wife, their three children, and their dog sometime between January 22 and January 24.

Deputies responded to 107 Kinsaw Court in Vanceboro on January 24 around noon to a welfare check.

When they arrived, they were met with a family member who said they had not been able to get in contact with the family since Wednesday.

Deputies noticed no signs of forced entry, but a body through the curtain. Officials forced through the home.

The body of Michael Jason Ireland was found in the bedroom, with a revolver located next to him. His dog was also found in the same room.

The wife, 26-year-old April Nicole Ireland, was found dead alongside her daughter Caroline, who was eight months old in their living room couch.

On another couch, deputies found 4-year-old Michael and 3-year-old Bryson dead with a single gunshot wound.

Investigator described the case as one of the most horrific crimes in their careers.

Hughes said there were no signs of struggle, but deputies have responded to that home before, the last time being 2015.

Neighbors recall Michael working on a shrimp boat in Virginia and rarely being home.

There are eight homes in the small neighborhood and people living in the area said the Ireland’s were not social with neighbors.