An Alabama mother allegedly killed her two children before taking her own life June 6.
Connie Foster, 35, was found dead at her home alongside her daughter, Layla, 10, and her son, David, 8, according to AL.com.
Police say that, based on the evidence from the scene, they suspect a murder-suicide. The official cause of death is still to be confirmed.
“The Connie that I knew was first and foremost, a loving mother -- her children were her absolute first priority. Everything she did, that I ever observed, was done with an eye on her children,” Foster’s divorce attorney, Aaron Ryan, told WHNT.
Foster was engaged in a custody battle over her two children with her ex-husband David House. The pair was scheduled to appear in court July 5.
“Layla was a vibrant, happy-go-lucky girl who was adored and loved by her teachers and friends at Mountain Gap. David was a sweet, caring boy with a gentle spirit who was beloved by his classmates and teachers,” the children’s school said in a statement. “They will be missed and we ask everyone to keep this family and the Mountain Gap school community in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Foster and House got divorced in 2011 and looked after the children on alternate weeks.
But in 2015, House filed a petition calling for more time with his children. He alleged his ex-wife was using custody as a weapon against him.
Foster admitted she had the children stay with her more than 50 percent of the time, but she said this was because House traveled frequently.
“Until the filing of his petition, the father has never asked for additional time with the children, and, in fact, he relies on the mother’s flexibility to accommodate his work schedule,” a paper filed in response to the petition stated.
Lilly Foster, Connie’s stepdaughter, issued a statement following the three deaths.
“She was my stepmother and she was so kind and treated me so well when she didn't have to,” she wrote, according to WHNT. “It makes me sad that people are going to think she was [a] horrible person but Layla and David were her whole world...I don't think anyone knew she was fighting these inner battles.”
Ryan, Connie’s attorney, added that her fate showed the need to recognize more openly those having internal difficulties, “particularly those who are having difficulties with their families.”