A psychologist in Washington state killed herself and her twin 7-year-old daughters in a murder-suicide amidst an ongoing custody battle.
On Saturday, a roommate at the 55-year-old Michele Boudreau Deegan’s Sudden Valley home contacted deputies after he found Deegan, who is his landlord, and her two children dead. Deputies responded to the scene at around 1:15 p.m., according to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities say Deegan fatally shot her two girls while they were sleeping and then turned the gun on herself. Investigators came to the conclusion that a custody dispute was the “primary motive” behind the murder-suicide, which they say happened sometime Friday evening, the New York Post reports.
Deegan’s website says that her 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.” Under a tab on her website called “Life Can Be Better,” the mother wrote that “there are many great therapists in our community and I am humbled to be able to stand amongst them as a supporter of freedom, hope, healing, acceptance and love.”
The day the twins were killed Deegan shared an article ScaryMommy.com, titled “Narcissistic Parents Are Literally Incapable Of Loving Their Children” on her professional Facebook page, the outlet reports.
A neighbor responded to the incident saying he couldn’t “believe this happened.” Other neighbors said that the girls were hardly ever seen outside. In addition, one person closely associated with the family says that at one point child welfare authorities were called about the home.
According to the Daily Mail, one of Deegan’s friends reacted to the killings on Facebook, saying the mother 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,” Jen Mindlin 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,” she continued, adding that Deegan was “in a horrific custody battle, with a man she had a domestic violence protection order against.” She also added that “every time she believed her divorce was almost final, she would be dragged into a new frivolous and expensive renegotiation, 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.”
Mindlin then called for people to be understanding of Deegan’s alleged circumstance. “Compassion is truly in order here. I loved (and nannied) those girls, and I’m angry too….I just really want everyone to know that Michelle did NOT abuse the girls, she loved them. She was just sick….and scared.”