Deaths ruled mur­der-sui­cide

Coro­ner: Sons had painkillers in their sys­tem be­fore be­ing shot by their mother.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul

Two young boys had pow­er­ful painkillers and a sleep-in­duc­ing an­ti­his­tamine in their blood when they and their mother were found dead in a mini­van parked be­hind a shut­tered Lone Tree store last month in what has been ruled a mur­der-sui­cide.

The Dou­glas County Coro­ner’s Of­fice said Fri­day that Jen­nifer Marie Laber, 38, died from a self­in­flicted gun­shot to her head and that 3-year-old Adam and 5-yearold Ethan both were shot in the neck.

The three were found dead Nov. 30 in the se­cluded load­ing-dock area of a va­cant Sports Author­ity store as law en­force­ment from across the metro area searched for them.

Ethan and Adam had the opi­oids oxy­codone and oxy­mor­phone in their blood, ac­cord­ing to their au­top­sies. They also had diphen­hy­dramine, an an­ti­his­tamine that com­monly comes in the form of Be­nadryl and causes drowsi­ness, in their sys­tem.

The au­top­sies say the boys — whose deaths have been ruled homi­cides — were found in car seats. When Adam’s body was brought to the coro­ner’s of­fice, it was ac­com­pa­nied by a stuffed an­i­mal and an open bag of gummy-bear candy.

Laber had the anti-de­pres­sants bupro­pion and desmethyl­ven­lafax­ine in her blood, as well as lam­ot­rig­ine, a med­i­ca­tion used to treat bipo­lar dis­or­der and seizures, ac­cord­ing to her au­topsy.

Au­thor­i­ties say Laber legally pur­chased a Glock 9mm hand­gun at a lo­cal store about 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 be­fore go­ing to pick up her son an hour ear­lier than nor­mal dis­missal time from his kin­der­garten class. Laber’s hus­band, Ryan, re­ported the three miss­ing that night. The bod­ies of Laber and the chil­dren were found early the next morn­ing.

The deaths shocked the Labers’ neigh­bors in High­lands Ranch, who re­called Jen­nifer as a com­mit­ted mother who was al­ways flanked by her chil­dren.

At a vigil af­ter the deaths, Ryan Laber told those gath­ered that his wife bat­tled deep de­pres­sion.

In a post Thurs­day night on a Face­book page re­mem­ber­ing his wife and sons, Ryan Laber said Jen­nifer had left a note dis­cussing her de­pressed state and how, de­spite hav­ing lost 80 pounds, she still felt self-con­scious.

“It’s first crit­i­cal to know Jen­nifer Kran­nich Laber had a deep de­pressed episode,” he wrote. “We don’t know what trig­gered it, nor did any of those close to her see it com­ing. From her his­tory, pre­vi­ous episodes in­volved very low self-es­teem, no recog­ni­tion of con­se­quences to self harm, and a strong de­sire to es­cape.

“De­pres­sion,” he wrote, “is co­er­cive and often op­er­ates in si­lence. There is no fault to lay blame.”

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