Father recalls happy times with family
and 5-year-old Ethan — to O’Brien. He said it was the family’s favorite park.
Jennifer and the two boys were found dead Wednesday morning in a minivan parked in the loading dock area of a shuttered Sports Authority store in Lone Tree. All three had been shot one time. Police have stopped short of declaring it a murder-suicide, but officials have said there are no other suspects.
Jennifer Laber purchased a Glock 9 mm handgun at a local store Tuesday before going to pick up her son earlier than the dismissal time from kindergarten.
Ryan Laber filed a missing-persons report when she didn’t show up at home later that day.
Ryan Laber, in his first public comments on his losses, acknowledged that his wife battled deep depression in her life.
“My wife and I had an immense love for our boys,” Laber said. “She had a sickness. We learned to cope and manage, but depression is a disease. It operates in silence.” He spoke from the park’s gazebo, usually a place for outdoor concerts and other events, such as the traditional holiday lighting. The mood in the crowd was somber. Some cried quietly.
On the steps leading up to the gazebo sat two stuffed animals, a sock puppet monkey and a teddy bear, snuggled together in memory of the boys. Flames from four ivory candles flickered nearby.
Laber recalled happier times with his family. He said one fun game involved the hunt for “treasure,” the gathering of rocks and sticks, meaningless to adults but full of wonder to the two boys who still experienced everything as fresh and new.
As a sort of homage to the treasure tradition, the family liked to put in their backyard blue glass gems, what they called Smurf treasure.
In front of the gazebo stood a line of small glass jars filled with blue glass gems.
Laber asked those who had come to the vigil to come forward to take one of the colored glass stones in remembrance.
“May it remind you to listen, love and live every day,” he said. “God bless each and every one of you.”
He wiped away tears as young children in the crowd approached first, picking up some of the jars of colored glass. The children fanned out into the crowd of mourners offering up small blue gems of treasure for the taking.