Three days after a family was found dead inside a Fairbanks hotel room, their friends and family are struggling to come to terms with the deaths. Fairbanks police said it is likely McKay Hutton shot and killed his wife, mother and infant daughter before killing himself.

Hutton was married to Emily McDonald for about one year.

Linda Hendrick, a woman identifying herself as McDonald’s birth mother, sent the following statement to KTVA Sunday:

“Emily was a wonderful person and an amazing mother. She was smart, having acquired her CNA license, she wanted to explore becoming a registered nurse. She leaves behind a son named Tristan and a large extended family. I recently moved from Anchorage to Clovis, New Mexico, but am working on coming back to Alaska to help out as much as possible.”

Tristan is McDonald’s child from a previous relationship. He was not hurt in the shooting, police confirmed.

McDonald worked at Lilley Lodge, an assisted living facility in North Pole. Her boss, Terryann Gainer, said McDonald worked there for about six years and was scheduled to return from maternity leave in about one week.

“I’m still in shock. It’s not real to me,” Gainer said during a phone interview, adding that McDonald was especially close to two people who lived at Lilley Lodge. “I called and told them not to watch the news that morning until I could get the manager to sit down with them. And they were anxiously awaiting her to come in and show the baby to them.”

Gainer said she did not know McDonald’s husband well, and described McDonald as a “private” person.

“We’re just kind of at a loss as to what really happened here,” Gainer said.

She said McDonald will be remembered for her devotion to her children and care for clients at the assisted living facility.

“Her pure, unconditional love of all people struck me, which is why I brought her into our organization,” Gainer said. “She was a wonderful mom.”

McDonald and Hutton were found dead alongside their 2-month-old daughter, Teagan Hutton, and McKay Hutton’s mother, Linda Hutton. Fairbanks police are continuing to investigate a motive.

The victims’ autopsies are scheduled to take place at the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage on Monday.

KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter