KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The slaying in the United States of a retired Air Force officer and his family has left their friends in the Kaiserslautern military community stunned and saddened.

Edmond Mitri Saad III, 45, who retired as a lieutenant colonel last year; his wife, Eva Lou Thompson-Saad, 47; and his son Edmond Mitri Saad IV, 14, were found shot dead Thursday at their burning mobile home in East Texas.

A fourth body found in the mobile home is believed to be that of Betty Thompson, 74, who is Thompson-Saad’s mother, according to Capt. Dennis Allen, a detective at the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

Floyd Thompson, 75, Thompson-Saad’s father, is charged with arson and four counts of capital murder, Allen said.

Investigators believe the shootings stem from marital problems between the Thompsons, who were separating after 51 years of marriage, Allen said.

The Saads had moved to the Escapees RV Park on the outskirts of Livingston, Texas, after Saad retired in May 2003. Saad was assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s operations section while stationed at Ramstein, a USAFE spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The Saads had gone to Livingston to help care for the Thompsons, who both were ill, according to Patty Bolan, who met Saad when he worked as a committee chairman with Ramstein Cub Scout Pack 232.

“It shocked all of us,” Bolan said of the news of the Saads’ deaths, which she learned on Friday. “We were devastated.”

Bolan, also retired from the Air Force, took over Saad’s committee chairman volunteer job when he left for the United States.

“He had a really good sense of humor. And he was a wonderful organizer,” Bolan said. The Cub Scouts and their parents gave Saad the pack’s teddy bear mascot, called “Cubby,” when he retired, she said.

“Everybody loved him so much, when he left we retired ‘Cubby’ and gave it to him,” she said.

The Saads were devout Catholics and attended daily Mass at the base chapels, she said. Eva Lou Thompson-Saad was a Mass leader and helped with other church organizations.

The Saads home-schooled their son, whom everyone called Mitri, and the family was friends with several other home-schoolers, said one family friend, who didn’t want her name used.

Mitri was friends with Bolan’s daughter and was a “wonderful boy,” Bolan said.

“I always described him as a perfect child. I wanted to have him back to introduce him to my daughters when he was 20,” she said.

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