SUDDEN VALLEY, Wash. - The woman who shot and killed her twin 7-year-old daughters before turning the gun on herself had planned the killing for several days and gave the children a "large amount" of sedatives before she shot them, the Whatcom County sheriff said.
Sheriff Bill Elfo said his office is taking the unusual step of releasing new information about the unspeakable tragedy because "it has deeply impacted our community."
The scene unfolded Saturday afternoon (Oct. 24), when deputies responded to a call from someone at a multi-level residence who said he found his landlord and her two children dead in an upstairs bedroom.
Investigators who responded to the home outside of Bellingham determined that the children's mother, 55-year-old Michele Boudreau Deegan, shot her twin 7-year-old daughters while they were sleeping and then shot herself.
Detectives said she killed her children and herself amid a custody dispute. It happened four days after a judge granted joint custody to Boudreau and her estranged husband.
"Ms. Boudreau planned this event over the course of several days prior to the discovery of the bodies," the sheriff's office siad. "She clearly stated her suicidal ideations and that she would never leave her daughters alone without her."
Her estranged husband has a strong alibi, Elfo said, and he's been ruled out as having any involvement in the shooting.
An autopsy showed the children were given sedatives that "probably rendered them incoherent at the time of the incident."
If you are feeling like you want to harm yourself or others, help is always available. You can get help by calling the VOA Care Crisis Line at 1-800-584-3578; by texting “TALK” to 741741; calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
"If a friend or family member expresses suicidal ideations, please tell someone! Don’t be silent," the sheriff's office said.
You can contact your local 9-1-1 or use the same numbers listed for Care Crisis Line or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.