Michigan police have decided that they cannot rule out the father of two children as a possible suspect in a recent double homicide and suicide.
Last week, a prosecutor argued that mother Tamisha Mendenhall, 34, was responsible for the deaths of her children and husband. However, police announced on Monday that a note written by Jeffrey Mendenhall, 54, the father, suggested that he participated in the act.
The note described his children as “innocent," according to Michigan State Police Lt. Kip Belcher, who spoke to The Grand Rapids Press and MLive on Monday.
The deaths occurred at the family’s home in Traverse City, Michigan. It’s believed that they died on Aug. 11. The bodies were discovered on Thursday, after Jeffrey failed to show up for work.
The children, 6-year-old Thomas and 3-year-old Olivia, were found next to each other in a bedroom holding flowers and stuffed animals, according to MLive. Jeffrey was found in the bedroom doorway with his head resting on a pillow and holding flowers. His body did not show signs of struggle, thus leading investigators to believe he committed suicide.
It’s believed that Tamisha died of a self-inflicted stab wound to the groin. After quickly dying, her blood pooled onto her husband. It’s believed that she was the last to die.
During an investigation into the home, police discovered empty kitchen trash bags covered in tape, vinyl tubing and a valve for a helium tank. According to police, the use of helium is a considerably painless way to commit suicide because it doesn’t cause the feeling of asphyxiation.
While opening a helium canister does not cause harm to a person, breathing it in a closed bag is deadly, Dr. Stephen Cohle, a forensic pathologist, told The Press and MLive.
Open bottles of sleep-inducing medication were also found in the house.
“There are some questions we may never have the answer for,” Belcher said. “There’s no explanation for why.”
Belcher noted that it’s important for surviving family members and friends to look for answers and clues. The police are currently looking into computers and phones in the house in the hopes of finding answers.
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