March 31, 2015
Lower Moreland, Pennsylvania
The bodies of Nicole and Christopher Peppelman are found by one of their sons

The Peppelmans had separated, and their divorce had been finalized in January of 2014. Despite the dissolution of their marriage, “there was no indication at the time that there was anything wrong between them,” according to Martin P. Mullaney, the lawyer who represented Nicole during the divorce proceedings.

Nicole Rhoads Peppelman

The Peppelmans’ 14-year-old son, the eldest of the three Peppelman children, discovered the bodies of his parents on March 31. Both had extensive wounds to their bodies in what some reports described as mutilations, seemingly created from a knife and chainsaw found near the bodies. “Based upon the scene, evidence recovered at the scene and the autopsy results, forensic detectives believe that a chainsaw was one of the instrumentalities of the death on both of the deceased,” First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele stated.

An aerial view of the Peppelmans’ home shortly after the discovery of their bodies
via 3 CBS Philly

Coroner Walter Hofman ruled that both Nicole and Christopher had died of blood loss from “gaping sharp-force injuries” to their abdomens which had been inflicted by the chainsaw. Christopher also had a similar wound to his thigh, and Nicole had been choked and stabbed in the neck before she was cut with the chainsaw. The deaths were ruled as a murder-suicide.

Hofman announced in June of 2015 that Christopher did not have any drugs in his system at the time of his death, and only a “minuscule amount of alcohol that is not worth mentioning.” If investigators have established a motive for the murder of Nicole Peppelman, it has not been released to the public.

In 2017, a center for victims of domestic assault was christened Nicole’s Place in memory of Nicole Peppelman. The center provides various services including counseling, education, resources, and referrals. According to their webpage, “The office’s highly visible location in the Marketplace at Huntingdon Valley [Pennsylvania] serves to bring the critical epidemic of domestic violence out of the shadows, to increase public awareness about abuse, and to provide a welcoming, easily accessible gathering space for survivors and community members alike.”

Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania
from GoogleMaps

Melwert, Jim. “New Domestic Violence Center Dedicated To Memory Of Woman Killed By Abusive Husband.” 3CBS Philly. November 29, 2017. Accessed: March 31, 2021.
“Chain saw, knife used to carry out murder-suicide.” Standard-Speaker. June 25, 2015
Gibbons, Margaret. “Coroner: Lower Moreland man not under influence during killings.” Bucks County Courier Times. June 23, 2015. Accessed: March 31, 2021.
“Officials: Couple bled to death in chain saw murder-suicide.” Fox 4. April 2, 2015. Accessed: March 31, 2021.
Martinez, Molly. “Son discovered parents dead in chain saw murder-suicide.” KRON. April 1, 2015. Accessed: March 31, 2021.
McCrystal, Laura. “Coroner: Chainsaw deaths murder, suicide.” The Inquirer. April 1, 2015. Accessed: March 31, 2021.
Craig, Daniel. “Autopsy: Montco couple found dead, cut by chainsaw ruled murder, suicide.” Philly Voice. March 31, 2015. Accessed: March 31, 2021.
Nicole’s Place. Laurel House. Accessed: March 31, 2021.

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