The body of one child has been found and the search is on for two others in Vadnais Lake in what authorities described as a “potential triple homicide” Friday night.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said all three children are less than 5 years old. Authorities were also searching for the children’s mother.
Fletcher said he did not know the condition of the children but said he believed all three were in the lake because all of their shoes were there.
“There is nothing more tragic than the loss of children, all of which were under the age of 5,” Fletcher said.
Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the investigation on Vadnais Lake stemmed from a report of a suicide Friday morning. Officers responding to the trailer on the 1300 block of Pearson Drive in Maplewood found a man who had died.
Then, at 4 pm, authorities got a report of a potential murder-suicide at Vadnais Lake that was related to the earlier death investigation.
A photographer at the scene saw a heavy presence of emergency vehicles from multiple agencies, including fire crews, ambulances, squad cars, an airboat and a helicopter. A van from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office was also seen arriving in the area.
KSTP’s Eric Chaloux reported that family and friends were sobbing just outside the police perimeter.
A search team remained on the lake at 9:30 pm, and authorities called the effort an active rescue and recovery mission.
If you believe someone is at risk of suicide, the US Department of Health and Human Services suggests you:
- Ask questions about whether the individual is having suicidal thoughts.
- Call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Seek help from a medical or mental health professional. If it is an emergency situation, take the person to a hospital.
- Remove any objects from a person’s home that could be potentially used in a suicide.
- Do not leave the person alone, if possible, until help is available.
The US National Suicide Prevention organization has also compiled a list of resources to help with coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.