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The truth behind the Lawson family Christmas Day slaughter

The murder that shocked a nation
The Lawson family portrait

This seemingly innocent family portrait holds a telltale clue in the shocking Lawson family murder suicide, which took place on Christmas Day in 1929.

Money was tight in the working class town of Germantown, North Carolina, so it was unusual for Charlie Davis Lawson to buy his family of seven all new clothes for a studio portrait.

But It was to be the last time they would all be photographed alive and together.

What hid underneath the family’s photo was a shocking secret, one that is thought to have been the reason behind the patriarch’s decision to bludgeon his family to death, days after.

Lawson family headstones
(Credit: Supplied)

After rising early on December 25th, 17-year-old Marie proceeded to make Christmas cake for the festivities ahead.

The two middle children, Carrie and Maybell, left the farm shortly after to visit their relatives, however were met by their father with a shotgun In hand.

Charlie then moved onto the porch, where he killed his wife, before moving inside the house to murder Marie and her two younger brothers, James and Raymond.

He then finished by shooting baby Mary-Lou.

Lawson family caskets
(Credit: Supplied)

The oldest son, Arthur, was the only family member to survive after he had been sent by his father to run some errands in the morning – He was tragically killed in a car accident 20 years later.

Charlie placed all bodies with their hands crossed at their chest and rocks beneath their heads.

After police arrived, a singe shot was heard in the distance with the tobacco farmer found  dead shortly after surrounded by hand-written letters.

Although the reason behind the callous murders was not explained.

Until now.

A cousin of the family came forward after holding a shocking secret for 60 years.

The Lawson family portrait

Stella Lawson Bowles confessed that she had overheard other Lawson family members reveal that Fannie (the matriarch) had confided in them before Christmas that there was incest in the family.

17-year-old Marie had told her mother of a relationship she was having with her own father, Charlie.

The teenager then divulged at a sleepover that she was pregnant – to which both Fannie and Charlie knew about.

The family’s neighbour also revealed that after Charlie forced himself upon Marie, she was swiftly told “there would be some killing done”, should she tell anyone what had happened.

In the family photograph, Marie’s belly cannot be seen, although she stares coldly to the front, while her father remains defiant – an eerie insight after discovering the truth that lay beneath.

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