In yesterday’s post regarding the tragedy that left a Howrey associate, Elizabeth Fontaine (pictured), and three of her family members dead, we promised to keep you posted on new developments. We now bring you this update, from the Orange County Register:
Sheriff’s investigators believe they know how four people, including two young sisters, died in a bloody heap Monday inside a million-dollar home in Talega.
Grandmother Bonnie Hoult, 67, fired the gun that killed her daughter and grandchildren before turning the .357 magnum on herself, a senior homicide investigator told the Register, citing the department’s prevailing theory behind the killings that rocked a gated community.
He said her daughter Elizabeth Fontaine, 38, appeared to have been a willing participant in the killings, with both she and her mother choosing death for themselves and the girls instead of allowing the sisters to be sent temporarily into the custody of a sister of their father.
More about these modern-day Medeas, after the jump.
Actually, we withdraw the Medea reference. Medea kills her children to take revenge on her husband, not to save them from a terrible fate. The more appropriate literary reference might be Beloved, in which a mother kills her daughter to save her from the horrors of slavery.
Law enforcement authorities believe that Bonnie Hoult and Elizabeth Fontaine killed Fontaine’s two young daughters because they also feared what the future held for them:
Fontaine had been embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband, Jason. Earlier that morning, Commissioner Thomas H. Schulte ordered Fontaine to bring her daughters, Catherine, 4, and Julia, 2, back to court for an afternoon session after temporarily ruling that the girls would be handed over to Stephanie McLaren, 35 – Jason Fontaine’s sister.
But Elizabeth Fontaine and Hoult apparently were convinced, as Elizabeth alleged in court documents, that her former husband was molesting the girls, even though Jason Fontaine never had been charged and an Orange County judge had found the accusations groundless. They apparently did not want the girls to be placed in the custody of any of his relatives.
The bloody solution they chose came swiftly about 1:30 p.m. Monday, prompted by a visit to the home by a sheriff’s deputy making a welfare check.
Authorities say the domestic shootings were rare in that they involved only females – including two blond-haired, chubby-cheeked girls too young to grasp the adult crisis that ended up claiming their lives.
For more information about this unspeakably horrific story, read the complete O.C. Register piece.
We extend our condolences to the Fontaine and Hoult families.
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Investigator: Grandmother likely killed 4 in Talega [Orange County Register]
Investigators: Grandmother Pulled Trigger in Howrey Associate Slaying [WSJ Law Blog]
Police Theorize Howrey Associate Was Willing Participant in Murder-Suicide [ABA Journal]
Earlier: Howrey Associate Dead in Family Tragedy