An 81-year-old Colorado man has been arrested for the ax murders of his wife and adult daughter over the weekend.
Reginald Maclaren reportedly called police at about 6 p.m. on Saturday, saying that his wife and daughter “had been murdered” and that he thought he knew the suspect, who used a hammer, the Englewood Police Department said.
Officers responded to Maclaren’s home and found the two victims, 70-year-old Bethany Maclaren and 35-year-old Ruth Jennifer Maclaren — inside large trashcans on the living room floor.
“Both victims had substantial injuries and showed no signs of life,” the department said.
Investigators determined that both victims were killed with an ax and that one had been dismembered with a saw.
Maclaren was arrested for murder. Division Chief Tracy Jones said that he was cooperating with investigators and had confessed, the Denver Post said.
“We are trying to determine why he did what he did,” Jones said, describing the octogenarian as “distraught” during the investigation.
The arrest affidavit gave a major clue: The document said MacLaren told detectives he had recently lost a job where he worked with people who are homeless. He said because of the job loss, he wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, so he killed his wife and daughter to keep them from being homeless.
According to KUSA, Maclaren said he planned the murders, recently buying the trashcans, ax, and saw he “fully intended” to use. He said he hit his wife and daughter in the head with the ax Saturday morning, then struck them two more times before putting their bodies in the trashcans, which he said he could not lift when he tried to get them out of the apartment.
The affidavit says that Maclaren told detectives had no regrets because he “knows they are in a better place.”
“Some of our detectives have been detectives for 20 years, and they described this as one of the most gruesome crime scenes that they’ve ever been a part of,” Englewood police division chief Tracy Jones said Tuesday. “Our officers who responded, obviously we’re taking their mental health into consideration, and we’re getting them all the help and resources that they need.”
Maclaren is currently being held without bond.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.
[Featured image: Reginal Maclaren/Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office]