Louisiana police await tests in mother-daughter shootings

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 13, 2011 12:08 PM

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Police in a small Louisiana community outside New Orleans were awaiting the results of an autopsy on Wednesday to help them find answers in the shooting deaths of a woman and her three young daughters.

Investigators in Kenner said it was possible Nadia Braxton killed her children and then herself, but "you want to make sure you get everything done, and that everything is as it appears before you make an official determination," Kenner Police Lieutenant Wayne McInnis told Reuters on Tuesday.

Braxton, 29, was found Tuesday evening shot in the head and sprawled across the bodies of her three daughters -- Kayla, 12; Nayah, almost 2; and Nyla, 6 months.

The girls were lying side-by-side on the bed in an upstairs bedroom when Braxton's common-law husband and the girls' father, Ronald Peters, discovered them, McInnis said.

A semi-automatic handgun was at Braxton's feet, McInnis said. Police were still running traces on it Wednesday to find out when and where it was bought, and who owned it.

Peters had left the house around 6:30 a.m. that day to go to his job with a local plumber, McInnis said. He stopped at the store on his way home that evening and tried to call his girlfriend.

There was no answer, and when Peters arrived home just before 5 p.m., the house was dark and quiet when he called out to his family, McInnis said. Peters went upstairs and found them moments later.

The investigation so far has turned up nothing that would indicate a definite motive for the shooting, McInnis said.

"The only thing that I was told was that there was an issue with their home that they were living in -- and that there was a possible issue with the house being seized and being sold at the sheriff's auction," he said.

"Other than that, the neighbors that we interviewed said they were a quiet family, and they'd never seen or heard any issues.

McInnis said the autopsy was likely to be done on Wednesday morning, and police hoped for an official cause-of-death determination sometime later in the day.

(Writing by Karen Brooks; Editing by Jerry Norton)