LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Even after the deaths of of three sisters and their mother in northern Kent County earlier this week were ruled a triple murder-suicide, questions remain. Chief among them: Could it have been prevented?
Authorities say Aubrianne Moore shot and killed her children — 2-year-old Alaina Rau, 6-year-old Cassidy Rodery and 8-year-old Kyrie Rodery — before taking her own life northwest of Cedar Springs Monday. According to court records, Moore had a history of mental illness, but she still had custody of her kids.
“This is a tragedy that no one ever wants to face,” Dr. George Mellos, the deputy director of the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday. “Everyone is traumatized.”
Mellos heads up Michigan’s mental health programs. When asked by 24 Hour News 8 Thursday if the system failed Moore and her daughters, he replied, “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘the system.'”
“I think that the system is much more complex than community mental health and schools and it is the entire community,” Mellos continued. “So whenever we have a tragedy like this, has there been a failure in different levels in the community? And yes, those things need to be ultimately examined. I can’t point fingers. I don’t know enough and I’m sure it will be looked at very closely.”
He refused to talk about specifics of the case, but explained what happens when a person is involuntarily committed, which is what happened to Moore. Court documents show Moore was hospitalized in September after a social worker filed a petition outlining concerns that she would harm herself or others and a doctor said Moore was experiencing hallucinations and paranoia.
“The physician makes the decision about whether or not the patient continues to meet continuing care criteria for hospitalization,” Mellos said.
He said that after a doctor feels it’s safe to send the patient home, the patient will generally get outpatient care for 60 days or more. That care is usually administered through the community mental health system. Then the patient is either cleared of care, monitoring continues or they are taken back to the hospital.
What happened after Moore was released remains a mystery.
Mellos says the state tries to provide care that is the least restrictive. In the 1940s and 1950s, the treatment for mental health was focused on institutionalizing people.
“I think there is always a balance,” Mellos said. “Has the state gone too far? I don’t think the state has gone too far. “
Another question: Why the social worker or law enforcement never called Children’s Protective Services last fall around the time Moore was hospitalized. No one seems to know the answer to that.
If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, there is help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.