UPDATED 12: 34 p.m.
The mysterious deaths of an Indiana mother and her 5-year-old daughter were the result of a suicide and a homicide, a coroner has determined, but there is no evidence at this time that the homicide was intentional.
The Vanderburgh County Coroner released a statement revealing the findings of autopsies conducted on Kimbra Shanafelt, 49, and her 5-year-old daughter Dhani Shanafelt. Authorities responded to their Evansville home on April 22 after a relative who had gone to check on the mother and daughter called 911 to report an emergency.
Though first responders reportedly observed what appeared to be trauma on Kimbra’s body, which was found in the garage of the home, an initial autopsy did not find any evidence of trauma or injury. According to Friday’s statement, the toxicology test result showed that both the mother and daughter died of carbon monoxide inhalation, but the deaths were not accidental.
Kimbra Shanfelt’s manner of death is listed a suicide while her daughter’s is listed as a homicide.
Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding told the Courier & Press that the homicide ruling does not neccessarily mean that the mother intended to take her daughter’s life.
“We are kind of looking at it as a reckless homicide situation. We think her actions precipitated the girl’s death,” Wedding said. “Did she plan it? We cannot be 100 percent sure.”
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
An earlier version of this story stated the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide, but we have updated the story to reflect new information from the sheriff that indicates the homicide may not have been intentional.
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