Skip to comments.Father kills 4 children, self after spousal dispute (2006 US murder totals - 8788 and rising)
Posted on 07/08/2006 7:59:32 PM PDT by Libloather
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In an image provided by the Gustine Police Department, Aubrie Branscum, 12, is shown in an undated photo.
In an image provided by the Gustine Police Department, Jacob Branscum, 10, is shown in an undated photo.
Gustine, Calif. Clergy and crisis experts from throughout Merced County were counseling the residents of a small community where police say a man apparently shot his four young children with a rifle before turning the gun on himself.
The deaths of Trevor Branscum, 38, and his children shook the city of Gustine, a community of about 5,200 people 90 miles northwest of Fresno.
According to the Gustine Police, Branscum and his wife, Amanda Trimble, were arguing at a market near their home early Tuesday morning. Police planned to review the store's surveillance tape to see what led to the fight.
Trimble told police she left with a friend after they got home and came back about an hour later to find her husband fatally shot. Her friend called police who found Trimble lying in the street, hysterical but not physically hurt, officers said.
Police discovered the bodies of Aubrie, 12, Jacob, 10, and twins Taylor and Alyssa, both 5, in the house, apparently shot while they were sleeping, said Police Sgt. Vince Inaudi.
Trimble was staying with family outside of Gustine on Wednesday. She broke down during initial police questioning but will be interviewed again, Chief Don Hutchins said.
Inaudi said she is not a suspect.
"We haven't discovered anything that leads us to believe that this is not a murder-suicide like we originally thought," Inaudi said. Police continued their investigation Wednesday.
Branscum and Trimble were married on Valentine's Day three years ago, around the same time they moved into their four-bedroom, three-story house. Branscum, who worked in construction, and Trimble, a waitress, had lived in Patterson and Walnut Grove before moving to Gustine.
"We're still trying to figure out what brought them here and how this all came about. There are a lot of little pieces to this puzzle we're still trying to fit together," Inaudi said.
Police could not find any reports of domestic violence from the couple, Inaudi said.
Neighbors said the family always seemed happy. On Monday, the father and children were in the front yard lighting fireworks, neighbors said.
Aubrie Branscum was a student at Gustine Middle School. She was on softball, soccer and cheerleading teams, Hutchins said. She and her 10-year-old brother, Jacob, were in a city summer camp that did community services such as painting, pulling weeds and planting flowers.
"I never heard any arguments from the house," said Steven Morris, 18, who lives across the street. "It's sad because the kids didn't do anything. Kids don't deserve that."
Gutless, cowardly parents who kill their own innocent flesh and blood to get back at a spouse deserve a special corner in hell.
Years ago I had a neighbor kill her two youngest children (infant and toddler) and then herself while her other four children were in the living room watching TV. I'll never forget the screams of those children and they came running across the street to my nextdoor neighbors house for help...
These were beautiful children and may this coward find his special place in hell.
this is absolutley insane.
God rest their souls
That is not revenge, it is an exercise of control combined with suicidal desperation. I'm surprised that given our me-centered society that it doesn't happen more often. It is tragic and horrible...that anyone could reach that point.
What a rotten bastard.
Absolutely sickening to take away four young lives.
I have always thought the world would be a better place if those considering murder/suicide start with the suicide.
She's no innocent bystander here. SOMETHING happened to set him off and I BET it points to the both of them, their relationship and the years from child one-four, maybe even from before they were married.
Simply awful. They are with their Maker now, resting in the peace of the Lord.
What an excellent idea.
Instructions for the jealous, angry, and murderous:
1) kill self.
2) kill the ex.
3) kill the kids.
4) Either way, burn in Hell.
The couple was married 3 years ago, the kids were all older than 3 yo. & the mother's last name is different than the kids. Is there another parent somewhere?
Flowers and toy animals are placed Wednesday, July 5, 2006, at the home where four children died. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A pair of identical toy bears are seen at a makeshift memorial Wednesday, July 5, 2006. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Authorities said that after police were called to the Branscum home before 2 a.m., officers saw Amanda Branscum lying in the road uninjured; the father and children were found dead inside the house.
Re-reading this story, some elements to it are bizarre.
It looks like he was not the children's father. I'm guessing that might make it easier to kill them. How awful...
Actually, reading more closely, the father and children have the same last name and he is referred to as their father. Only the mother has a different name.
Poor kids. Heartbreaking
The oldest girl is - was - just gorgeous! The mother was on our FReeper prayer thread, so perhaps someone here knows her or lives there.
But she's their mother in the CA birth index.
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