A Washington psychologist who shot dead her sleeping seven-year-old twin daughters before turning the gun on herself had planned the killing for several days and drugged her children before killing them, police say.
Autopsy results confirmed that Michele Boudreau Deegan, 55, had given her daughters Mairy Anneleise and Katie Elizabeth ‘a large amount of sedatives’ before killing them and herself, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office has revealed.
The sheriff’s office said while it continues to investigate the murder-suicide, it’s taking the ‘unusual step of releasing new details’ on the probe because the ‘tragedy has deeply impacted our community’.
The scene unfolded on the afternoon of October 24, when deputies responded to a call from someone at a multi-level residence in Sudden Valley who said he had found his landlord and her two children dead in an upstairs bedroom.
Michele Boudreaux Deegan shot her seven-year-old twin daughters before turning the gun on herself at the family’s home in Sudden Valley, Washington, on October 24, police say
Investigators said Deegan killed her daughters (pictured) while they slept on Friday night
An initial investigation revealed that Deegan had been embroiled in a custody dispute over the children with her estranged husband, which was believed to be her primary motive in the shootings.
Friends said Deegan adored her children but suffered from mental health issues
The killings occurred just four days after a judge granted joint custody to Boudreau and her former partner, who has not been publicly named.
‘Ms. Boudreau planned this event over the course of several days prior to the discovery of the bodies,’ Sheriff Bill Elfo said. ‘She clearly stated her suicidal ideations and that she would never leave her daughters alone without her.’
Elfo added that investigators have ruled out any involvement from Ms. Boudreau’s estranged husband in the incident.
‘His whereabouts during the time line have all been accounted for and he has a strong alibi,’ Elfo said. ‘Evidence at the scene clearly implicates Michele as the only suspect in the death of her two daughters, after which she subsequently took her own life’
Police recovered a handgun from the possession of Boudreau which they say was consistent with the murder of her children and her own death.
‘Autopsy results confirm this as well as the fact that the children had been given a large amount of sedatives which probably rendered them incoherent at the time of the incident,’ Elfo said.
Michele had been working a licensed psychotherapist prior to her death, according to her professional website.
The front page of the site reads: ‘My 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.’
Deegan had been embroiled in a custody dispute over the children, investigators said
Deputies performing a welfare check at the family’s home (pictured) discovered the bodies on Saturday afternoon
On the day of the shooting, Boudreau shared a number of posts about narcissism on her professional Facebook page, including an article titled ‘Narcissistic Parents Are Literally Incapable of Loving Their Children.’
In a separate post minutes prior, she shared a link to a Psychology Today article titled, ‘7 Ways Covert Narcissist Parents Groom Their Children for Abuse.’ In the tagline of the link, it reads: ‘Kind to be cruel? Is your “nice” parent killing you softly?’
A person who knew Deegan described her as ‘deeply troubled’ and told KIRO 7 that they had contacted child welfare authorities with concerns about the twins before their deaths.
Neighbors told the TV station that the twins were rarely seen outside their home.
‘Really right now, I’m just in shock I can’t believe this happened,’ one neighbor said in reaction to the shootings.
One of Deegan’s friends reacted to the news in a Facebook post, saying that she was ‘mentally ill’.
‘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,’ the friend 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.’
On the day of the shooting, Boudreau shared a number of posts about narcissism on her professional Facebook page, including an article titled ‘Narcissistic Parents Are Literally Incapable of Loving Their Children’
One of Deegan’s friends speculated that she killed her kids to ‘protect’ them from their father
The friend confirmed that Deegan was in a ‘horrific custody battle, with a man she had a domestic violence protection order against’.
‘Every time she believed her divorce was almost final, she would be dragged into a new frivolous and expensive renegotiation,’ she wrote.
‘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.’
The friend concluded: ‘I just really want everyone to know that Michelle did NOT abuse the girls, she loved them. She was just sick….and scared.’
At the time, Sheriff Elfo characterized the scene as a ‘real tragic situation’. He said his office will continue to investigate ‘what might have motivated someone to do something this horrific’.
Elfo also urged: ‘If a friend or family member expresses suicidal ideations, please tell someone! Don’t be silent.’
If you are feeling like you want to harm yourself or others, help is always available. You can get help by calling the VOA Care Crisis Line at 1-800-584-3578; by texting “TALK” to 741741; calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.