Bodies of 3 children, mother recovered from Vadnais Lake
UPDATE: The bodies of three children and their mother have all been recovered from Vadnais Lake, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office says.
The children, two boys and one girl, are believed to be under the age of five or six.
The sheriff’s office says the first child was recovered around 7:30 p.m. Friday, the second child just after midnight, the mother around 10:40 a.m. Saturday and the third child around 11 a.m. Saturday.
The bodies are being taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner, who will release details surrounding the deaths.
A statement from the sheriff’s office says the deaths are being investigated as a possible triple murder-suicide.
Read the Ramsey County Sheriff’s most recent statement here.
The sheriff’s office says the search began on Friday afternoon with a wellness check officers were performing in connection with a death investigation from Friday morning.
Friday morning, Maplewood police responding to a report of a suicide found a man dead in a trailer on the 1300 block of Pearson Drive.
Friday afternoon, Maplewood officers were joined by Ramsey County forces to perform the wellness check at Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park, which prompted a land and water search that ended late Saturday afternoon when the third child’s body was found.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s office says they believe they know the connection between the man who was found in Maplewood and the four bodies recovered from Vadnais Lake, but they will not disclose any information at this time.
The Ramsey County Medical examiner will also release details surrounding the death of the man found in Maplewood. Maplewood police are currently investigating the death.
An earlier version of this story can be found below.
The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Additional suicide prevention resources can be found at the bottom of this article.
The “rescue and recovery” resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday morning on Vadnais Lake for what authorities are calling a “potential triple homicide.”
As of Saturday morning, the Ramsey County watch commander confirms the bodies of two children have been found. The search is on for a third child and the children’s mother.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher says all three children are less than 5 years old.
Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner says the investigation on Vadnais Lake stemmed from a report of a suicide Friday morning. Officers responding to a trailer on the 1300 block of Pearson Drive in Maplewood found a man who had died.
Then, at 4 p.m. on Friday, authorities got a report of a potential murder-suicide at Vadnais Lake that was related to the earlier death investigation.
Authorities say the children’s shoes were found on the shore of the lake.
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.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reporter Eric Chaloux reported that family and friends were sobbing just outside the police perimeter.
A search team remained on the lake at 9:30 p.m. Friday, and authorities are calling the effort an active rescue and recovery mission.
Fletcher said on Friday authorities did not know the condition of the children, but he believed all three were in the lake because of the shoes.
“There is nothing more tragic than the loss of children, all of which were under the age of five,” Fletcher said.
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.