An elementary school teacher, her estranged husband and one of their triplet 12-year-old daughters have died in an apparent domestic dispute. Here’s what we know about this heartbreaking tragedy.
This is devastating. An estranged husband and wife and one of their triplet 12-year-old daughters died in an apparent domestic dispute on July 7 in Redland, Alabama, Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin told The Wetumpka Herald. The two other triplets were transported to a Montgomery hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Franklin said on the morning of July 8 that the injured girls were in stable condition and were alert and speaking with their grandparents. One of them may need additional surgery, he said.
The officer said that a neighbor called 911 at about 5 p.m. after hearing gunshots. When authorities arrived, they found the mom, later identified as Charlene Ann Orsi, 44, lying dead in the front doorway of the home, which was on fire. Her husband, Robert James Orsi, 50, was later found dead from the fire, or, “most likely from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Franklin said. Charlene Orsi taught third grade at Redland Elementary School while Bob Orsi was retired from the U.S. Air Force.
The couple also have another 13-year-old daughter, who was uninjured and able to escape to a neighbor’s house. The two surviving triplets also managed to get out of the home. Police weren’t able to locate the third triplet initially, but found her dead when they had clearance to search the rubble.
Franklin said that Charlene, who went by “Charley” on Facebook and the website for Redland Elementary School, had filed from her husband not long before the incident. Court records show that her petition for divorce was filed by her attorney, Clyde Bailey, on June 28. She requested sole custody of the pair’s four children, child support, alimony, and an “equitable division” of their property.
Court records also show that Robert Orsi’s attorney, Dana Delk, filed an answer to the divorce petition on July 2. The file denied her claim that the couple had “such a complete incompatibility of temperament” that they could “no longer live together as husband and wife.” The answer also denied that there had been “an irretrievable breakdown” of the couple’s marriage and that “further attempts at reconciliation (were) futile and/or impractical.” Charlene and Robert would have been married for 24 years come August.
Franklin said on Sunday morning that his office is waiting on the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. “We are certain that the wife died from her gunshot wounds,” he said. “We feel pretty sure that the husband killed his daughter and then shot himself, but with the smoke and heat of a fire involved, we have to wait on Forensic Sciences to be certain.”
One of Charlene’s close friends, Annette Smallwood, started a GoFundMe page for the three surviving children. Our hearts are with the girls and Charlene’s loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.