The mother found dead with four of her adopted children in an apparent murder-suicide this week was involved in ongoing divorce proceedings from her husband, who moved out of their home nearly a decade ago.
The Tennessean obtained court records showing that Cynthia Collier’s four teenage adopted children had requested earlier this year to continue living with their mother as she and their adoptive father entered formal divorce proceedings in March of this year.
The Colliers had three biological children and four adopted children. Each of the seven children reportedly gave sworn statements for the divorce filing, and the adopted teenagers all asked to continue living with Cynthia, as they didn’t really know their father, they said. The older, biological children reportedly said in their statements that they had a strained relationship with their father, even prior to the separation.
And though the couple appears to have been unofficially separated since 2007, the court records obtained by the newspaper state that the couple was attempting to reconcile in May, two months after the formal divorce filing, and asked for the divorce case to be dismissed.
The four deceased children have been identified as 14-year-old Bo Li; 14-year-old Meigan Lin; 15-year-old Lia Lin; and 17-year-old Kaileigh Lin. All four were adopted from China between 2003 and 2008, according to records obtained by the Tennessean.
Cynthia was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The father has been identified as Randall Collier, the owner of a building company established in Franklin, Tennessee.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland said in a press conference on Tuesday that their had never been any domestic incident reports at the “immaculate,” “loving” home.
Cynthia Collier was reportedly a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her younger children. An adult biological child also lived in the home, and reportedly found the carnage on Monday evening when they came home from work.
According to Fox 17 Nashville, neighbors said that Colliers lived in relative seclusion in what appears to be an upscale home with a pool and a tennis court, reportedly surrounded by an automatic gate and two fences.
The children’s mother reportedly fulfilled all the requirements for homeschooling her children, but they did not participate in any extracurricular activities within the school system. Neighbors reportedly said they rarely saw activity at the home. The family is believed to have avoided social media entirely.
Investigators are still working to determine a motive, reportedly further exploring a piece of evidence found at the scene that provided a vague explanation for the apparent murder-suicide.