July 2 (UPI) — Minnesota police are investigating a possible triple-homicide after the bodies of a woman and her three children were recovered from a lake in Ramsay County.
Officers with the Maplewood Police Department responded to calls reporting the suicide of an adult male in a mobile home neighborhood in Maplewood around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Police then began searching for the three children and their mother, who was said to be suicidal, the newspaper reported. The children — two boys and a girl — are each believed to have been under the age of 5.
“They were looking for the mother with the children as a result of the incident that occurred,” Ramsay County Undersheriff Mike Martin said during a news conference Saturday.
“They were concerned about her wellbeing and the wellbeing of the children and so they began tracking her cellphone.”
The trace on the woman’s cellphone led Maplewood Police Department investigators to the location the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake in Vadnais Heights, about 10 miles north of St. Paul.
The Ramsay County Sheriff’s Office was then called in to help police assist in locating the missing woman and her children as various agencies and volunteer groups scoured the lake, Martin said.
Police recovered the body of one of the children around 7:30 p.m. Friday night and recovered the body of another child just after midnight as the search continued into the early hours of the morning.
The body of the mother was recovered around 10:40 a.m. on Saturday while the body of the third child was recovered about 20 minutes later, Martin said.
Martin said their bodies will all be taken to the medical examiner’s office, which will perform autopsies to determine their causes of death.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher called the incident a “likely triple homicide” in comments to the Star-Tribune on Friday night.
“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Fletcher said.
Investigators have not released the names of the man involved in the incident in Maplewood nor the names of the woman and her three children.
“Our hearts go out to the families involved here and their friends,” Martin said. “Our goal was to find the children and the mother and to return them to their families and we’re glad we’re able to do that.”