BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A mother killed her twin daughters while they were sleeping before shooting herself Friday night, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies responded around 1:15 p.m. Saturday to do a welfare check on a home in Sudden Valley. A roommate in the multi-level house said that he found his landlord and her two children dead in an upstairs bedroom.
Detectives determined that the mother, 55-year-old Michele Boudreau Deegan, shot her twin 7-year-old daughters while they were sleeping. Deegan then shot herself, police said.
“Really right now, I’m just in shock I can’t believe this happened,” a neighbor said.
The sheriff’s office believe the crime happened Friday night. An initial investigation found that Deegan was in a custody dispute over the girls, which detectives believe motivated the incident.
“It’s a real tragic situation that we’re still investigating, trying to get more information on what might have motivated someone to do something this horrific,” said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.
On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office released new details on the investigation saying authorities ruled out any involvement from Deegan’s estranged husband and that evidence at the scene clearly implicated Deegan as the only suspect in the death of her two daughters.
“A handgun was recovered from the possession of Ms. Boudreau and was consistent with the murder of the children and her own death,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
It went on to say that autopsy results showed the children had been given “a large amount of sedatives which probably rendered them incoherent at the time of the incident.”
Investigators said evidence from the scene also indicated that Deegan planned the killings and her own death over several days.
“She clearly stated her suicidal ideations and that she would never leave her daughters alone without her,” the release said.
Investigators said joint custody of the girls was awarded to Deegan and her husband on Oct. 20 and that it appears that was what led Deegan to take her own life and that of her children.
Michele Boudreau Deegan worked as a psychotherapist, and recently posted on Facebook about narcissistic parents.
Neighbors tell KIRO 7 the girls were rarely seen outside the house.
A person who knows the family situation said people were looking out for the girls, and even alerted child welfare authorities.
The girls' mother, the person said, was very troubled.