KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP)- Searchers pulled the bodies of a woman and her 9-year-old twin daughters from the water after she intentionally drove a car carrying them into a southwestern Michigan river, authorities said Tuesday.
Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas said two other girls had been in the car but were let out before it was driven into the water. Those girls told officers late Monday that a family member had driven a car into the Kalamazoo River. Their relationship to the woman was not immediately clear.
Officers found the submerged car at Verburg Park. Thomas said they initially found the 44-year-old woman’s body and one child’s body Monday night, and the other child’s body was found Tuesday morning following a search.
Family members identified the mother as Ineza McClinton, 44, and the daughters as 9-year-old twins Angel and Faith, according to WOOD-TV.
“This is just a tragedy,” Thomas said. “This is just a tragedy for our community.”
Thomas said investigators were trying to determine why the woman drove into the water. They also were working to determine a precise timeline leading up to that point, and who else may have been in contact with the woman.
“It’s a question here in Kalamazoo that we’re all asking,” she said of the possible reason behind the deaths. “We don’t have an answer.”
“I think that it just brings to light that a lot of people are suffering and we don’t know it,” Thomas said, according to Fox 17. “Everyone should take a moment and realize everyone is going though something.”
Neighbors created a memorial with candles and toys on the steps of the family’s home Tuesday evening.
“They were loving kids. They were always coming over giving me hugs and stuff,” neighbor Essiena Yarerough said of the twins.
Officials told WOOD-TV there is an open investigation into Children’s Protective Services prior interactions with the family, meaning the woman and her children had some sort of contact with CPS in the last two years.