Richard and Cynthia Murphy lived in a neat clapperboard house at 31 Marquette Road in a suburb of Montclair, New Jersey. In 2010 they shared their home with their two blonde daughters, seven-year-old Lisa, and 11-year-old Kate. A local realtor described the neighborhood to NJ.com, “You couldn’t get more normal. You couldn’t find anything more quiet and demure.”
In 2008 this typical all-American family had bought their well-kept suburban home for $481,000. Cynthia was vice president of a Manhattan financial firm, while neighbors believed Richard, a former architect, to be a stay-at-home dad. In July 2017 the realtor who had sold them their home told CNN, “They’re such a nice couple. I spent a lot of time with them showing them houses.”
Richard told neighbors he was from Philadelphia, while Cynthia claimed to be a New Yorker born and bred. The kids, meanwhile, hurtled around the local streets on their pushbikes and enjoyed games with the other neighborhood children. And on weekends, the family would enjoy brunch at the Montclair Diner, a classic American eatery.