DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Friends and family of a young mom who deputies say was killed in a murder-suicide by the father of her children tell FOX8 there were red flags in the couple’s relationship.

The Davie County Sheriff’s Office believes Aschod Ewing-Meeks took the lives of Ashton Brown and his two children before turning the gun on himself.

A cousin of Brown reached out to FOX8 and says Ewing-Meeks had a history of mental health problems.

They recall things escalated a year ago when Ewing-Meeks tried to set the bed where Brown and their daughter were sleeping on fire.

The family member says Brown was scared and didn’t know what to do, she wanted her family to be together and wanted to get help for Ewing-Meeks.

According to experts, it’s always difficult to tell what’s going on in a relationship, but just reaching out and asking what’s wrong can start a good conversation.

“I think any time a tragedy happens, it’s natural to look for signs like the last interaction you had looking for any evidence you can find to try and understand what’s going on,” said Christine Murray with the UNCG Center for Youth, Family and Community Partnerships. “A lot of times it’s hard to know from the outside what’s actually happening from the inside.”

According to Murray, an indicator of when a relationship may be unsafe is when the person you love seems isolated and disconnected from their friends, family and hobbies.

There’s also a shift in power dynamics when a person seeks approval from the other person in the relationship and exhibits controlling behaviors.

Sheriff JD Hartman of Davie County tells FOX8 deputies have crisis intervention training.

There are resources for mental health issues and domestic violence, and his deputies respond appropriately to the calls they get.