Hmong leaders discuss tragedy in Vadnais Heights, resources for community

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A tragedy in Vadnais Heights over the course of Friday and Saturday has left the Hmong community struggling to cope with the horrific event.

Leaders in the community spoke with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Monday, explaining they are counseling not only the victims’ families but also Hmong families throughout the Twin Cities.

“Right now, the community is still in shock mode,” said Paul Xiong with the Hmong 18 Council. “This would be the second time this happened in the community.”

The Hmong 18 Council was formed more than 20 years ago when a Hmong mother killed her children.

Since then, the council has been trying to prevent tragedies like this, and Monday, they decided to open up about this situation in order to help anyone else.

KSTP also spoke Monday with Chong Lue Lee, the grandfather of Kos Lee. Speaking through a translator, he said his grandson died by suicide in Maplewood only hours before the search started for Lee’s wife, Molly Cheng, and their three young children.

Ramsey county investigators later found the children’s shoes near Vadnais Lake, and over the weekend, the bodies of all three children and their mother were recovered from the water. Police say their deaths are being investigated as a possible triple murder-suicide.

Lee also said he believes Molly and the children’s lives could have been saved with professional intervention.

“We wish there would be 24-hour supervision for the mother and the children because of the father, because of what happened to him,” Lee told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “In a short time, less than three hours, the police release the mother and kids, and then in that three hours, a thing happened to those children. So wouldn’t it be better for there to be 24-hour supervision after such [a] tragedy happened to their loved one?”

The Hmong 18 Council says they are working on setting up a GoFundMe for the families affected.

Here is a list of suicide prevention and mental health resources:

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests you:

  • Ask questions about whether the individual is having suicidal thoughts.
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 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 U.S. National Suicide Prevention organization has also compiled a list of resources to help with coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.