VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Officials have recovered the bodies of three children and a mother from Vadnais Lake, after a search started Friday evening in what is believed to be a triple murder-suicide case. All three children were under the age of six.
The last of the bodies was found on Saturday at 11 a.m. Two of the children were boys, and the other was a girl.
The search came after Maplewood police said they received information of a potential murder-suicide around 4 p.m. that they believe is related to a suicide that took place around 10:30 a.m. Friday on the 1300 block of Pearson Drive.
Authorities responded to a welfare check at Vadnais Lake Regional Park, where they found a car and children's shoes.
Crews found the first child on Friday evening around 7:30 p.m. A second child was pulled from the water around midnight, and divers searched the area until 3 a.m. Recovery operations resumed at 6 a.m. and the woman's body was found at 10:40 a.m. At 11 a.m., the third child was pulled from the lake. The bodies were found on the east side of the lake, according to Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin.
"Our hearts go out to the families involved here, and their friends," he said. "Our goal was to find the children and the mother and to return them to their families, and we're glad that we were able to do that."
The search involved several state agencies, volunteer groups, a helicopter, and several watercraft. The head of the search and rescue team, Cmdr. Eric Bradt of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, said this search was one of the most difficult in his career.
"I've been doing this for 30 years as a cop ... and this was one of the more difficult ones," he said.
The investigation is still active and ongoing. The bodies were brought to the medical examiner's office for further investigation. No names have been released.
Mental health resources
If you are having thoughts of suicide, you can text the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255.
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