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3 children, mom found dead in Minnesota lake in "potential homicide," officials say

The bodies of three children and their mother have been recovered from a lake just north of St. Paul, Minnesota. Authorities said they are now conducting a homicide investigation.

On Friday at about 10:30 a.m. local time, police were called to a reported suicide in the town of Maplewood, a city just west of St. Paul. They found an adult man dead at the scene, Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said at an evening news conference. He was identified as the father of the three children, the Associated Press reports.

The exact cause of death was not disclosed, and Steiner said it remains under investigation.

Authorities search for a missing mother and her three children in a lake near St. Paul, Minnesota. WCCO

At approximately 4 p.m., police responded to Vadnais Lake on information of a possible murder-suicide, Steiner said. Authorities began to search the lake for three children and a woman. Steiner said the lake response was "in relation to" the earlier incident, but did not specify. 

Ramsay County Sheriff Bob Fletcher confirmed Friday night that one child's body had been found. The other was discovered overnight Friday, and the third child and the mother were found Saturday. Officials said during a Saturday press conference that the children — two boys and one girl — were all young.

The medical examiner will perform autopsies on the bodies to determine causes of death, officials said Saturday.

The children's shoes were found at the lake, Fletcher said. Steiner said the mother's vehicle was also recovered at the scene, along with other items that lead authorities to believe that they may be in the area. 

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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