A Highlands Ranch, Colorado, mother and her two young children were found dead in the family van on Wednesday afternoon, hours after they went missing.
The Denver Post reports that Jennifer Marie Laber, 36, and her two sons, ages three and five, were all found deceased inside Laber’s blue Ford minivan. According to Lone Tree police spokesman Sgt. Tim Beals, Laber purchased a Glock 9mm handgun just minutes before picking her two children up from school. She died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, likely after she shot her sons, who were both found with one fatal shot each.
— Steffan Tubbs (@TubbsKOA) November 30, 2016
Although they haven’t specifically named the shootings as a murder-suicide, Beals stated that at this point, there are no other suspects in the case, and the gun Laber purchased was found inside the van.
“We’re just not ready to put that label on it yet,” Beals said, explaining why the deaths haven’t been labeled a murder-suicide.
Authorities still aren’t specifying whether the handgun Laber purchased was the murder weapon, nor are they revealing the exact manner of the children’s deaths.
“In these situations, it is so critical that we have every piece of evidence we can find,” said Jill Romann, spokesperson for the Douglas County Coroner’s Office. “We just haven’t had all of that evidence presented yet.”
Timeline of Events
Laber and her two boys were last seen alive at around 1:30 p.m. Surveillance footage at Bear Canyon Elementary shows Laber and her children leaving the school in a 2011 Town & Country minivan. Laber’s husband and the children’s father, Ryan, filed a missing report on his family at around 8:00 p.m. that evening. By Wednesday, photos Laber and the two boys were shared with local media.
— Mary Pat Ryan (@MaryPatRyan) December 2, 2016
At at 7:47 a.m. on Wednesday, someone spotted Laber’s minivan in the Sports Authority parking lot near County Line Road, and phone the police. After authorities arrived, they realized the vehicle parked at Sports Authority matched the exact description of Laber’s minivan.
“Officers responded to the scene and realized that the van that was here in the parking lot matched the description of the van that was reported associated with three missing people from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office,” said Beals.
Shortly after, an officer found three wounded bodies in the van and called into dispatch.
“I’ve got three wounded.”
It was later determined that Laber and her sons were dead. Although authorities remain mostly mum on possible motives, it’s been speculated by police that Laber may have had severe depression, although her family members said that they didn’t see any signs to indicate the tragedy was forthcoming.
[Feature Photo by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office]