SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The deaths of three girls and their mother northwest of Cedar Springs earlier this week were a triple murder-suicide, authorities have confirmed.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday afternoon that the medical examiner ruled that the deaths of Alaina Rau, 2; Cassidy Rodery, 6; and Kyrie Rodery, 8, were homicides and the death of their mother Aubrianne Moore, 28, was a suicide.
Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said Moore picked up Cassidy and Kyrie from school around noon Monday. They stopped for lunch, and then Moore took all three of her daughters to a property on 19 Mile Road near Division Avenue in Solon Township that belonged to the girls’ great-grandparents.
It was there, authorities say, that Moore used her boyfriend’s legal bolt-action hunting-style rifle to shoot and kill her daughters. The sheriff said investigators found three shell casings and other evidence in a wooded area behind the house.
Authorities say Moore then put her daughters in her car and drove down the street to her boyfriend’s property before killing herself outside of the vehicle. The four bodies were discovered around 3 p.m.
“We were able to pretty accurately put together the timeline of everything that happened from the time the kids were picked up from school until the time the bodies were found, so we’re very certain that there wasn’t any opportunity for anyone else (to be involved). Plus the ballistics were consistent with the suicide in the three murders,” LaJoye-Young said.
There was no suicide letter, but investigators did find other recent writings from Moore referencing some threat that didn’t actually exist.
“She believes she was protecting the kids from something and most of her writings really followed kind of in that line,” LaJoye-Young said.
“I don’t know what else to say,” she added. “There’s no good answer here.”
Moore had a history of mental illness, including hallucinations and paranoia, and spent time in a mental health hospital as recently as late last year.
“I believe the individual has mental illness and as a result of that mental illness the individual can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously physically injure self or others,” a social worker wrote in a September petition to have Moore committed.
Moore agreed to be hospitalized, but it’s not clear how long she spent at Forest View Psychiatric Hospital near Grand Rapids or if she sought continuing treatment after being released.
The Children’s Ombudsman’s Office says Children’s Protective Services never had any involvement with Moore and her three children. The school district said that as far as officials there knew, she had sole custody of the girls and there were no court orders restricting her rights.
Speaking to 24 Hour News 8 Monday evening, family members remembered Alaina as joyful, Cassidy as rambunctious and Kyrie for her love of reading.
Tri County Area Schools says Cassidy was a first-grader at MacNaughton Elementary and Kyrie was a third-grader at Sand Lake Elementary. Cassidy’s teacher said she was hard-working and friendly. Kyrie’s teacher also noted her love of reading and said she often volunteered to help others. The district was making grief counselors available throughout the week.
Gift of Life Michigan out of Ann Arbor says Cassidy and Kyrie’s father agreed to donate some of their tissue.
“Even in the midst of this horrible tragedy, the gifts by these girls will be able to make someone else’s life better,” Tim Makinen of Gift of Life Michigan said. “We extend our condolences to this family and are just grateful for their generosity.”
If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, there is help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.
—24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this report.