Mere hours after British authorities arrested a man in the shooting deaths of his wife and baby daughter at a London subway station, U.S. officials shed new light on the slayings, which shattered a peaceful Boston suburb last month and neighbors' perception of a happy family.
Neil Entwistle, 27, who returned to his native England a day after the killings, is charged with two counts of murder and two weapons-related charges, Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said. He was remanded in custody following an extradition hearing at a London court, and will be held until a hearing Friday.
In the early hours of Jan. 20, investigators believe Entwistle used a handgun taken from his father-in-law to shoot his wife and baby while they slept, Coakley said. He shot his wife in the head, and his daughter in the stomach, authorities believe. There was no sign of struggle.
The next morning, Entwistle bought a one-way ticket and hopped on a flight to London. But before leaving, he returned the .22-caliber handgun to his father-in-law's home in Carver, Coakley said. He may have intended to kill himself as well, but didn't follow through.
"We have forensic information that links it both to him and to Rachel, and we know Rachel had not used that gun," Coakley said.
Suggesting a possible motive, Entwistle faced financial difficulties and debt in England as his Internet business ventures failed. At the time of the killings, Neil Entwistle was nearing financial ruin, but he apparently hid the problems from his wife and family, Coakley said.
"The picture we had was of a young couple starting out with a healthy future," Coakley said. But in reality, she said, "he had no money and really had no assets."
Among his Web site ventures: Millionmaker.co.uk, which promised customers as much as $6,000 in monthly earnings; srpublications.co.uk, which offered a manual that it said would help men enlarge their penises; and srpublications, which offered software at reduced prices on eBay.
Neil Entwistle's first court appearance is to be Friday at Bow Street Magistrates Court, the customary venue for extradition cases. A decision on sending him back to the U.S. must be made by April 15, District Judge Timothy Workman said.
Ben Brandon, Entwistle's lawyer, told the court he may make an application for the murder suspect to be released on bail at Friday's hearing.
The lawyer confirmed he had discussed the prospect of Entwistle returning voluntarily to the U.S. to face the allegations.
"I understand you have been asked about the possibility of your consenting about your return to the United States and I understand you are choosing not to do so at this stage," Workman asked Entwistle, who wore gray tracksuit pants and a black sweat shirt.
"At this stage, yes," Entwistle said, confirming he would not agree to voluntarily return.
Rachel Entwistle's family issued a statement saying they were "deeply saddened" by the arrest.
"Rachel and Lilly loved Neil very much. Neil was a trusted husband and father, and it is incomprehensible how that love and trust was betrayed in the ultimate act of violence," the statement said.
Massachusetts authorities flew to London late last month to interview Neil Entwistle at the U.S. Embassy, but officials didn't say whether he answered any questions, Christina Hager of CBS station WBZ-TV in Boston reported. He was considered "a person of interest" at the time, not officially a suspect, and had been staying at his family home in Worksop, in central England.
Police were first called to the Entwistles' Hopkinton home on Jan. 21 but didn't see anything wrong, authorities said. Coakley said that friends of the couple had showed up for a dinner party but no one answered the door, and that Rachel Entwistle's mother called police when she couldn't reach her daughter.
After a missing person's report was filed, police visited the home again. During the search, they detected an odor and discovered the bodies in the bedroom. Coakley has said the bodies were covered by bedding and "almost not visible."
Rachel Entwistle and her daughter werein a wooden casket on Feb. 1 at a service attended by about 500 mourners, but not Neil Entwistle, Hager reported. The memorial service was at the same Roman Catholic church where the baby was baptized less than two months earlier.
Neil Entwistle didn't return for their funeral.
He had met his future wife in 1999 at the University of York, where she was spending a year studying abroad. They married in 2003 and stayed in England until last year. Their daughter was born in April.
The family moved to Massachusetts and had rented the Colonial-style home in Hopkinton less than two weeks before she and her daughter were killed.
Relatives told investigators that the Entwistles did not have a history of marital problems, and said Neil Entwistle was looking for a technology job at the time. His wife had been a teacher but also was not working.
In Massachusetts, a first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.