Police probe family deaths in Phoenix lake as murder-suicide

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2015 11:03 AM

(Reuters) - Authorities are investigating the deaths of three young children and their parents as a murder-suicide, after police said the father drove the family sport-utility vehicle into a lake in a suburb of Phoenix.

Early on Sunday, Glenn Edward Baxter, 27, "took deliberate actions" when he drove his family into the lake, the Tempe Police Department said in a statement on Monday.

Rescuers went to the scene after witnesses saw the SUV drive into the lake, the statement said. Police said officers who arrived first and witnesses jumped into the lake to rescue the family.

They pulled out 1-year-old girl Zariyah and 2-year-old boy Nazyiah from the middle seat, the children's 25-year-old mother Danica from the front passenger seat, and Danica's husband who is the children's father from the driver's seat, the statement said.

It said the four family members were unconscious and taken to a hospital, where they died.

After the mother was taken to the hospital and identified, authorities discovered that her 3-year-old child Reighn was unaccounted for. The boy's body was later found in the back seat of the submerged SUV, the statement said.

Authorities are investigating the incident as a murder-suicide, it said.

The Arizona Republic newspaper cited witnesses on the shore of the man-made lake as saying they had seen the car parked on an embankment with its headlights on. They said they later heard a crash and saw it flipped upside-down in the water.

Local media reports said the body of the father will be sent to the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner for an autopsy, as well as toxicology tests.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)