Eaton Co. authorities: Deaths of father, children not murder-suicide


DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office says it is now treating the shooting deaths of a father and his two children west of Lansing as a triple murder.

Detectives originally thought the deaths of 47-year-old Joseph Lechleitner, 5-year-old Vivian Zwick, and 3-year-old Anson Zwick was a murder-suicide. They announced Tuesday they were changing direction, considering the investigation a homicide.

Detectives do not believe it was a random act of violence.

Lechleitner and Vivian were found dead in a Delta Township home shortly after 11 p.m. April 14. Anson was alive, but died later after being rushed to the hospital. All three were shot.

Lechleitner’s mother told WLNS, WOOD TV8’s Lansing sister station, on Tuesday that she’s “glad that her son’s name is going to be cleared.” She added she “never thought that her son was capable of killing his two babies” and “she always believed in him.”

Lechleitner lived in the Shingleton area of the Upper Peninsula. His children lived at the home in Delta Township.

Anyone with information that could assist with the investigation should contact Detective Ted Johnson at 517.323.8492 or can call 517.543.5433 to leave a tip.

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