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Florida woman says authorities failed to act before her 4-year-old son’s death in a murder-suicide

A four-year-old boy and his father were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide after the child’s mother claims authorities ignored her pleas to check on him.  

Police discovered the bodies of Greyson Martin Kessler and his father John Michael Stacey, 47, at Stacey’s apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday night. 

Greyson’s mother, Alison Kessler, had filed an emergency pickup order to seize the boy hours earlier after receiving a series of threatening texts messages and emails from Stacey, the Sun Sentinel reported. 

In one of the messages three days before the murder-suicide Stacey allegedly wrote: ‘You deserve to have your head separated from your body.’  

A judge would go on to deny the order, 12 hours after the boy and his father were found dead.    

In a GoFundMe created Sunday morning to help support the grieving mother, Kessler’s family blamed the agencies they said stood by to allow the deaths to happen. 

Alison Kessler with her son, Greyson Martin Kessler. On Friday Greyson was found dead with his father, John Michael Stacey, 47, in an apparent murder suicide. Kessler blamed the authorities for failing to act when she filed an emergency pick-up order for the boy after Stacey reportedly sent her threatening text messages

John Michael Stacey (pictured with Greyson) had reportedly moved to Florida from New York after the birth of his son to take on parenting duties

John Michael Stacey (pictured with Greyson) had reportedly moved to Florida from New York after the birth of his son to take on parenting duties

‘The police, child protective services and the criminal justice system failed Greyson and Ali, who filed multiple emergency orders to get Greyson safely away from the father, who had been sending threatening text messages and emails to Ali, and exhibited frightening behavior,’ the fundraising page read.   

Meaghan Marro, the attorney who filed the emergency order on behalf of Kessler, did not return DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 

Judge Michael Kaplan, who denied the pick-up order for Greyson on Saturday, after the two were found dead, also did not return a request for comment. 

Stacey, 47, had donated to various suicide prevention services in recent months

Stacey, 47, had donated to various suicide prevention services in recent months 

Florida defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich, however, defended Kaplan saying police were better suited to act under emergency conditions, the Sun Sentinel reported. 

‘Everyone wants to look for blame,’ he said. ‘The judge followed the law. He’s not clairvoyant. He can’t predict what’s going to happen. You can’t blame him in this case. You really can’t blame anyone. It’s just a tragedy.’ 

Fort Lauderdale police did not immediately comment on the case. 

A cause of death for the father and son has not been released.

‘Greyson was sunshine in a tiny human body,’ the GoFundMe read. ‘He exuded joy and loved everyone he met without hesitation. When Grey was born, we nicknamed him “Gigs” because he was always smiling and laughing.’ 

Greyson was nicknamed 'gigs' for his frequent bouts of laughter, according to his family

Greyson was nicknamed ‘gigs’ for his frequent bouts of laughter, according to his family 

Stacey, a New Jersey native, studied at Rutgers University and NYU Stern School of Business, according to his Facebook page. 

He appeared to have donated to three suicide prevention organizations in January, February and April, and moved to Fort Lauderdale in 2017, which would have been the year his son was born. 

An August 2018 profile picture with his son garnered comments such as ‘Beautiful baby daddy. God gave you a beautiful gift!’ and ‘Fatherhood looks good on you John!’

Another, commenting on his stern expression in the photo, asked, ‘Why so serious?’

Stacey worked as a business consultant, specializing in enterprise resource planning according to his LinkedIn profile.

Since 2011 he worked as project manager for the agency Providge Consulting.  

Various sources told the Sun Sentinel that Stacey had moved to Florida from New York to take on parenting duties when his son was born.

‘His story is really touching,’ Raterman said. ‘He was uprooting his life just to be near his son. I’ve never seen anyone who loves his son so much. The only reason he moved here was to be near his son.’ 

 ‘It’s a terrible situation,’ William Devries, who had rented out his condo to Stacey for the past four years said. ‘I didn’t really know him personally. He did tell us he had a son out of wedlock and came down to Florida to share the parenting duties.’


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