Authorities: Mother shot 3 children in Emington

December 19, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Sara McMeen, 30, Daniel Warren, 29, 10-month-old Maggie Warren, Skyler Lemke, 8, and her 7-year-old brother Ian Lemke were found shot to death last Friday in Emington, a town with about 150 residents 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Police confirmed the killings were a murder-suicide.

The 911 calls came into Livingston County's emergency dispatch in the minutes after McMeen began shooting her family members. The calls were made by residents and first deputies on the scene.

"I live in Emington and I have been hearing rounds of gunshots going off, and my neighbor is like running."

"I am not sure what is going on but my wife just called me, I'm out in Emington, they said they heard gunshots at my neighbors. There is someone laying outside."

"We have a medical emergency here. There is a murder/suicide here."

"Right now we have three victims. First responders on the scene think there might be somebody inside."

In a press conference Monday afternoon, the Livingston County coroner confirmed for the first time that McMeen was the only shooter and that she shot all three of her children in the head. Warren was shot in the back.

"Sara McMeen died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound of the neck. The handgun was still next to her hand," said coroner Michael Burke.

But the still unanswered question is why did McMeen kill her family? Livingston County Sheriff Martin Meredith said Monday they are still looking for answers.

"What we are looking for is the last 24 to 48 hours, we are trying to find out what their whereabouts and where the two adults were at and if they had any contact with anybody out in the public that we can talk to," said Meredith. "Now we just need to put the rest of it together to get the elements of why."

Though there is no further threat, sheriff's deputies are continuing their stepped up patrols of Emington and the surrounding area.

"This is a sole incident but we still want the residents of Livingston County to know that they are safe and that we are out there just as we are every day," said Meredith.

Police say the investigation so far has not yet revealed whether McMeen suffered from pre-existing conditions. Officials said the family had one prior contact with the police several months ago regarding assistance in a custody exchange.

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