LEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Detectives investigating a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of a couple and their two daughters on Saturday say the couple had recently started having relationship problems and that the woman was preparing to leave.
Deputies found evidence that Cindy Clouse was packing to move out.
Roger Kyle Hagger, 34, used a shotgun to kill Clouse, 35, and their daughters, Autumn, 13, and Mackenzie, 10, before turning the gun on himself, Allegan County sheriff’s deputies said.
The “investigation shows the relationship between the couple was challenged lately and that she was looking to leave,” Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker said on Monday.
She had recently told a friend about her plans, the sheriff said.
“Also,” the sheriff said, “scene looked as though she may have been packing to leave.”
The sheriff said there was no history of police calls to the couple’s home on 54th Street in Lee Township, near Pullman.
The sheriff said the couple had been together for years. On Facebook, Clouse wrote that she’d been in a relationship with Hagger since November 2007.
The sheriff’s office got a call around 12:35 p.m. from a man who said when he went to check on his family members at their home, no one answered the door but he could see his unresponsive niece through a window. When deputies arrived at the home on 54th Street between 112th Avenue and 110th Avenue, they found the parents and daughters dead.
Neighbors said they heard gunshots shortly after noon.
DAUGHTERS REMEMBERED AS KIND, SMILING
Autumn was in the eighth grade at Fennville Middle School and Mackenzie in the fourth grade at Fennville Elementary, the school district confirmed Monday in a release.
“As our staff have reflected on their memories of both precious girls, they describe them as kind, responsible, friendly, smiling, always doing the right thing, and truly remarkable students,” Fennville Public Schools Superintendent Jim Greydanus said in a statement.
He said counselors have been and will continue to be available to help students and staff as they mourn.
“Once again, the Fennville community is experiencing the love and care of our greater community as we grieve the loss of students,” Greydanus said. “As a community our hearts go out to the family and friends most closely affected by this loss.”
Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence released a statement Monday offering its sympathy to the family of Clouse, Autumn and Mackenzie and saying the killings were emblematic of the need for programs that work to prevent domestic violence.
“It is so important for everyone to be educated on the warning signs and how to help someone you love that may be being abused,” the statement said.
Resilience, near Holland, said it offers support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in Ottawa and Allegan counties, including emergency response, safety planning and a shelter. It can be reached anytime at 800.848.5991 or by emailing GinnyP411@gmail.com. There is also a hotline for Spanish speakers: 866.728.2131.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover funeral expenses.
Anyone with information about the murder-suicide is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 268.673.0500 or Silent Observer at 855.745.3680.