Therapist kills twin daughters, herself in murder-suicide amid custody battle
A psychologist in Washington state fatally shot her 7-year-old twin daughters in their sleep before turning the gun on herself in a shocking murder-suicide that followed a custody dispute over the girls, according to reports.
Deputies responded to the Sudden Valley home of Michele Boudreau Deegan, 55, at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday after a roommate at the residence reported finding his landlord and her two children dead, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators determined that the custody dispute was the “primary motive” behind the murder-suicide, which occurred sometime Friday evening.
On her website, Deegan wrote that her “goal is to teach clients new ways of perceiving their problem, healthy coping behaviors for responding to their problem, and healthy attitudes & communication skills for working with their families, partners, or work environment so they can make changes in their own life.”
Under the heading “Life Can Be Better,” she wrote that “there are many great therapists in our community and I am humbled to be able to stand amongst them as a supporter of freedom, hope, healing, acceptance and love.”
On the day of her twins’ death, she shared an article on ScaryMommy.com titled “Narcissistic Parents Are Literally Incapable Of Loving Their Children” on her professional Facebook page.
“Really right now, I’m just in shock I can’t believe this happened,” a neighbor told local TV station KIRO 7.
Other neighbors told the outlet that the girls had rarely been seen outside their home.
One person who knows the family told KIRO 7 that child welfare authorities had also been alerted at one point.
One of Deegan’s friends reacted to the tragedy on a Facebook post, saying the mother was “mentally ill,” according to the Daily Mail.
“Michelle was a wonderful woman….she HAD TO HAVE BEEN trying (in an absolutely sick, unimaginably twisted way, obviously) to ‘protect’ the girls from a life with their dad without her,” Jen Mindlin wrote.
“She was a kind and warm friend, bright and empathetic, a psychologist with a local practice that helped so many people, including me, and my daughter,” she continued, adding that Deegan was “in a horrific custody battle, with a man she had a domestic violence protection order against.”
She wrote that “every time she believed her divorce was almost final, she would be dragged into a new frivolous and expensive renegotiation, she had been bankrupted by litigation, right or wrong, she worried for her girls with their dad…..(the sad irony is not lost on me)……this was a mental health tragedy, not a terrible person.”
Mindlin added: “Compassion is truly in order here. I loved (and nannied) those girls, and I’m angry too….I just really want everyone to know that Michelle did NOT abuse the girls, she loved them. She was just sick….and scared.”
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said: “It’s a real tragic situation that we’re still investigating, trying to get more information on what might have motivated someone to do something this horrific.”
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