Ogema, MN – Investigators have determined that the daughter of the White Earth Tribal Police chief murdered her two young sons before she turned the gun on herself.
The bodies of 28-year-old Emma LaRoque and her children, four-year-old Frederick York and nine-year-old Shane Woods, were found at their rural Becker County home on March 18, after police received a report of “a possible incident” at the residence, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said in a press release.
All three had suffered gunshot wounds.
According to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office, the children died as the result of “homicidal violence,” and LaRoque died by suicide, the Star Tribune reported.
“Based on our preliminary investigation, it appears to be a murder-suicide,” Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) spokeswoman Jill Oliveira told the paper.
LaRoque is the daughter of White Earth Tribal Police Chief Michael LaRoque, according to KFGO.
“It’s a pretty tight-knit [community],” resident Andy Roy told KVLY. “Everybody knows everybody. I’m devastated for him. It really breaks my heart that his family is going through the tragedy…I don’t wish it upon anybody.”
Those who knew LaRoque described her as an active member of the community, and said that they were “absolutely devastated because things like this don’t happen to women like her,” KVLY reported.
“Nobody had a bad thing to say about her,” LaRoque’s friends said. “The whole tribe [feels] like they got sucker punched in the stomach.”
The BCA did not release details about the incident, nor did they disclose a potential motive, the Star Tribune reported.
The tribe said it is choosing to focus on the victims’ “beautiful souls,” rather than the manner in which they died, a White Earth Nation spokesperson said in a press release.
“As adults, we have a hard time making sense of this traumatic loss,” the spokesperson said. “We also have to be mindful of how it’s impacting our little ones.”
The investigation into the murder-suicide is ongoing.