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QuiverDance

Tennessee adoptive home school mother murder -suicide

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QuiverDance

Trigger warning.  Content of link is extremely upsetting.

Today there reports out of Columbia, Tennessee, a town about 40 miles south of Nashville, of a murder suicide involving a mother and four of her multiple adopted children.  The five deceased family members were discovered by another of the adopted children.  It appears that the children were all adopted and homeschooled.  

 

Link here:

https://www.wsmv.com/news/sheriff-mother-believed-to-have-killed-children-in-murder-suicide/article_ef9b8a02-d0e1-11e8-8089-0bf5e5aa1e86.html

 

 

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quiversR4hunting

Thanks for the article. Everything I had read said the children ranged in age from 7 to 16. I also hadn't heard they were adopted nor that another child found them. I wonder if we will find anything more out about the mom's motive.

Take the source with a grain of salt but this article says the parents had been separated for almost a decade and not residing together. I wonder how a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, earns money for a house, clothes, education, food, etc if she isn't working. (Husband could be giving her money but no idea from the articles.) https://heavy.com/news/2018/10/cynthia-collier/

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Aine

This is my super-biased and in no way based on evidence so therefore my non-professional opinion: when anyone describes a house with that many kids as 'immaculate', it seems like a red flag to me.

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Flossie

@Mecca, I believe, lives very near to where this happened.  She posted about it in another thread.  It has upset her greatly, so I have no idea if she'll want to come over here to discuss it, or if she knows anything more than has already been printed in the papers.

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FusterCluck

We're pretty close to Columbia and the whole area is in shock. Especially the homeschool community, because no one seems to have known them.  The rumor is that a neighbor homeschools and said the family was pretty isolated. It's such a tragedy and it's shaken us all to the core. 

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QuiverDance
1 hour ago, FusterCluck said:

We're pretty close to Columbia and the whole area is in shock. Especially the homeschool community, because no one seems to have known them.  The rumor is that a neighbor homeschools and said the family was pretty isolated. It's such a tragedy and it's shaken us all to the core. 

I live about forty minutes from Columbia.  It is very shocking and sad.  

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QuiverDance

It appears that the estranged husband is a home builder.  He had been giving the wife monthly support payments of close to 12K.  They'd been living apart for 10 years and had filed for divorce in march of this year but then in May asked to dismiss the divorce action and were attempting a reconciliation.  I am so very sad for this family.  It is absolutely heartbreaking. Those poor children.  The mother had been abused as a child.  I'm no expert, but from the looks of things, this could be an Andrea Yates type of situation in that the mom needed some help that she was not getting and it culminated in a devastating and desperate act.  I don't know if there was psychosis, obviously.  I am just so shocked and horrified.  It is not often you hear about crimes of this nature around here.  

Edited by QuiverDance

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Aine
On 10/19/2018 at 1:59 PM, QuiverDance said:

It appears that the estranged husband is a home builder.  He had been giving the wife monthly support payments of close to 12K.  They'd been living apart for 10 years and had filed for divorce in march of this year but then in May asked to dismiss the divorce action and were attempting a reconciliation.  I am so very sad for this family.  It is absolutely heartbreaking. Those poor children.  The mother had been abused as a child.  I'm no expert, but from the looks of things, this could be an Andrea Yates type of situation in that the mom needed some help that she was not getting and it culminated in a devastating and desperate act.  I don't know if there was psychosis, obviously.  I am just so shocked and horrified.  It is not often you hear about crimes of this nature around here.  

Unless we hear something to say she was always narcissistic or had a cruel and callous way about her or a need for absolute power, I don't think assuming that mental illness is involved is an unlikely guess. Access to mental health treatment is bad just about anywhere, even in countries with universal health although it's far better than in the US in general. In the South, mental health care access is terrible. From all the standpoints including the lack of qualified providers, ability to pay for a provider, ability to qualify for Medicaid considering Southern states on the whole did not take federal subsidies. 

I am in absolutely no way condoning any of Ms Collier's actions. They are heinous and inexcusable. But it unfortunately does not surprise me that she had mental health issues. Issues that made her statistically more likely to be a victim of a crime rather than a perpetrator. 

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Howl

Just stumbled across something on line about this.  The mother shot the oldest kids numerous times; the oldest, a 17-year-old, was shot 13 times and the mother shot a total of 34 bullets.  Kids ages: 17, 15, 14, 14. 

There were at least five adopted kids, if she killed four and a fifth child found them all.  She left a suicide letter that has not been released.

So yes, "homeschooled" and "isolated" are never a good combination. 

 

Their house is huge and very, very nice. 

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Howl

Relatively recent article from people magazine: 

Tennessee Mom Fired 34 Bullets to Murder Her 4 Teenage Kids and Kill Herself: Autopsies

So, the estranged dad was seeking to create a parental relationship with the kids after a long absence from their lives.  I wonder if he realized the mom was losing it and wanted to help, or if he was trying to get out from under huge child support payments or what.  There were three grown bio kids and then they adopted the four kids.  I'd have to say he realized the mom was going over the edge and he needed to intercede.

I'm not an FBI profiler, I'd have to say there was a LOT of rage.  She just kept pumping bullets into those kids, and used a shotgun as well. The first and oldest child was killed in the bathroom and the rest of the kids were killed in their beds. 

This is the mom's obit:  

Quote

Cynthia Kessler Collier, age 55, of Columbia, Tennessee, passed away on October 15, 2018.  Cindy was a loving and devoted Mom and Grammy. She was a tender and sweet soul who always put others first. She embodied selflessness, pure love, and a childlike joyful spirit. Despite the struggles of her life she sought to live out the will of God. She was adored and treasured by all of her children.

The oldest child's obit referenced "was a wise young woman of deep thought and astounding biblical knowledge."  

Probably we'll never know what went on, or the contents of the suicide note.  Sad all around, but I'm getting a controlling, isolated homeschool vibe.  Or maybe was a good woman who struggled with mental illness that finally got the best of her. 

Edited by Howl

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QuiverDance

Thanks fornoostothe article. This case is absolutely haunting me. 

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Ima

Did they clear the husband/dad from being suspect in this incident?

 

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thesedays

This is the first I've seen this story.  What a tragedy, on all levels.

 

Does anyone here think that she may have chosen to isolate them, and that included keeping them away from their father?

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Howl

Just did a little googling about this.  The latest google result was from TV station WKRN dated Dec. 14, 2018 that summarized the case and gave the autopsy results.   The kids were killed with a shotgun and handgun.  Several of the children were killed in their beds but no sedatives, alcohol or drugs were found in anyone's system.  The mom's suicide note was never released. 

The husband was not considered a suspect; apparently it was clearly murder-suicide from the start and he likely had a bomb proof alibi.  

Remember that the Collier family was homeschooled and isolated, which just brought to mind the Hart family murder/suicide:  Hart Parents Intentionally Drove Off Cliff In Fatal California Crash, Jury Rules

The Harts were an abusive, hyper-controlling family with six adoptive children.  Although the kids originally attended public schools, bruising and food deprivation were being reported by teachers, and the Harts moved away to Washington state and the kids were being "homeschooled."   

At least one of the kids managed to escape from the house to beg for food from the neighbors, who reported the family to CPS.  The family loaded up and hit the road just ahead of a CPS visit. The ultimate response  was a murder/suicide, probably instigated by Jen Hart, who likely was also an abusive controlling spouse. 

I didn't realize that Jen Hart was legally drunk when she drove the car over the cliff.  The children had been over dosed with Benadryl. 

 

Edited by Howl

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