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UPDATED 12/19/11 6:00 p.m.
EMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Investigators in Illinois said Monday that a woman in the small farming community of Emington shot her three children and live-in boyfriend before killing herself.
But motive remained a mystery.
“Now we just need to put the rest of it together so we can get the elements of why,” Livingston County Sheriff Martin A. Meredith told reporters at a news conference.
The murder-suicide Friday afternoon claimed the lives of 30-year-old Sara McMeen, 29-year-old Daniel Warren and McMeen’s three children: 8-year-old Skyler Lemke, 7-year-old Ian Lemke and 10-month-old Maggie Warren.
Authorities had previously refused to identify the shooter, but a neighbor previously told The Associated Press that she saw McMeen shoot the baby in the family’s backyard. Another neighbor said he could hear two separate rounds of gunshots from his home one street away.
Authorities found all five dead when they arrived at the home in Emington, a 117-person town about 85 miles southwest of Chicago.
Autopsy results released Monday show that all five family members died of gunshot wounds. Sara McMeen died from a single gunshot wound to her neck. Her hands were stained by soot, and a semi-automatic handgun was found next to her hand, authorities said.
Daniel Warren, who was found inside the house, died of gunshots to his back and neck. The three children and McMeen were found outside. Skyler Lemke was found shot three times. Ian Lemke had one gunshot wound. Maggie Warren, the 10-month-old, died of gunshot wounds to the head, authorities said.
Meredith, the sheriff, said authorities were looking for anyone who spoke to McMeen or Daniel Warren before the shootings.
The gunfire started minutes after Skyler and Ian Lemke arrived home from school on the last day before Christmas break. One neighbor said he could hear two rounds of gunshots from inside his home one street away.
When she heard the first shots, Annelise Fiedler ran out of her home to check on what the noise was. She told The Associated Press on Saturday that she could see McMeen hovering over her baby as if she had dropped her.
Fiedler asked McMeen if everything was all right.
“She looked at me and said, `No, everything is not all right,”‘ Fiedler said. Then, Fiedler said, McMeen shot the baby.
Relatives of Brad Lemke, the father of Skyler and Ian, declined to comment. Memorial funds have been set up in the names of the three children at the First National Bank in Dwight, Ill.
Donations can be mailed to the bank at P.O. Box 10, Dwight, Ill., 60420 in care of Ian Lemke, Skyler Lemke or Maggie Warren.
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