( 4UMF NEWS ) Father Kills Family After Intentionally Driving SUV Into Lake:
A father in the throes of a bitter separation drove his family of five — including three young children — into a Tempe, Ariz., lake Sunday and drowned them, authorities said.
A late night fisherman tried to save them, diving into Tempe Town Lake after watching 27-year-old Glenn Baxter drive the family’s SUV toward the water, strike a curb and flip into the lake.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” Tempe police spokesman Lt. Mike Pooley said at a press conference Monday evening. “Baxter took deliberate action driving into that lake. It is obvious he did that.”
The apparent murder-suicide at 12:15 a.m. claimed the lives of Baxter’s wife, Danica Baxter, 25, and their children, ages 1, 2 and 3, investigators believe after watching grainy surveillance footage of the “horrific” incident.
The parents had recently separated as Danica prepared stacks of divorce documents, the Republic reported, but police say their children brought them together that night.
Danica’s final text messages discussed dropping off the kids with her estranged husband’s mother, but a camera outside a condominium near the lake captured the family’s final minutes instead.
The video shows what investigators believe is the father getting out of the car briefly to inspect the barriers along the lake’s edge and placing Danica’s phone under a park bench.
“You’re going to see the vehicle hit the curb and flip over on its backside into the water,” Pooley said of the video.
Witnesses rushed to the vehicle’s aid, pulling out the mother, father and their youngest children, Zariyah, 1, and Nazyiah, 2. But each of them was declared deceased at a local hospital.
It’s there at around 9 a.m. authorities realized the couple had one child unaccounted for, little Reign, 3.
“We didn’t know where he was. Our worst fear was he was in this vehicle … our worst fears came true,” Pooley added. “He was located in the backseat, in his car seat and still wearing his pajamas.”
A handgun was also recovered from the family’s vehicle, but none of the family members had gunshot wounds on their bodies.
Danica’s friend, Monika Nathan, spoke with the slain mother just three hours before her death on Saturday night. She had been helping Danica seek a divorce from Baxter citing his “anger issues” as a motivator.
“She was a really strong girl … and a good mommy,” Nathan told the Republic.
Losing an entire family brought Danica’s aunt, Tamika Franklin, to tears Monday.
“I can’t explain it. It’s hard burying anybody, but to bury a whole family at once, I just don’t understand it,” Franklin told the Associated Press.
It’s not clear to investigators what brought the entire family together for such a late night car trip amid domestic turmoil.
“What happened inside that vehicle remains a mystery,” Pooley said. “It’s one of those deals, you’re going to think about it for awhile. You’re going to go home and just be glad to be with your family.”
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