A Minnesota woman who is believed to have died by drowning herself after allegedly killing her three children was earlier bullied following the death of her husband, according to reports.
The case, which authorities are investigating as a “triple murder-suicide,” has shaken the family’s neighborhood in Maplewood, as well as Hmong communities across the country after making national headlines.
It all started before 10:30 a.m. on July 1, when 27-year-old Kos Lee shot himself to death after an argument with his wife, 23-year-old Molly Cheng. By 7:30 p.m., one of the couple’s three children — 4-year-old Quadrillion — was found to have drowned in the nearby Vadnais Lake.
Medics attempted to resuscitate Quadrillion, but to no avail. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Shortly after midnight, Quadrillion’s older brother, 5-year-old Phoenix, was found lifeless on the lake. The search was then stopped until daylight.
At around 10:40 a.m. on July 2, Molly’s body was recovered on the lake. Her youngest child and only daughter, 3-year-old Estella, was located 20 minutes later.
The Ramsey County medical examiner recently confirmed the causes of death for all five family members. Lee’s cause of death was ruled to have been suicide by gunshot wound. Quadrillion and Estella’s deaths were reported to be drowning and smothering. Phoenix’s cause of death was determined to be drowning, while Cheng reportedly committed suicide by drowning.
Authorities are looking into the cause of Kos and Molly’s alleged argument before the young father of three supposedly shot himself. They are also expected to investigate the succeeding chain of events, including circumstances that took place in the family’s home before Molly called an uncle to share her alleged plan of killing herself and her children.
Since the deaths, there have been reports that Molly was bullied by her husband’s relatives in the immediate aftermath of his alleged suicide. A Medium post by writer Yia Vue, who is Hmong, described how Kos’ family allegedly ganged up against the young mother on social media.
Citing information from unidentified sources, Vue noted that Kos and Molly had problems in their marriage from the beginning. Kos’ family reportedly did not approve of Molly for unspecified reasons, but one allegation claimed that she was cheating on Kos.
Shortly after Kos’ death, his family members reportedly went on Facebook Live to talk about the tragedy and “tear down Molly,” Vue noted. They allegedly called her names such as “homewrecker,” “sl*t,” “cheater” and “evil.”
Molly then reportedly called an uncle, saying that she could no longer take the abuse. She allegedly informed him that she would drown herself and her children, though it’s unclear whether she provided any further details.
Vue urged others to separate facts from hearsay.
“Once people are dead, all that is left is hearsay. What friends and family from both sides are saying can be taken however you’d like,” Vue wrote. “The only things we do know as a fact is the timeline of events and what we’ve seen on videos shared.”
Vue also shed light on other factors that may have influenced the horrifying case. Among these was the fact that Molly — who was biologically Burmese and Thai — was adopted.
Molly’s mother reportedly died a few years ago, and her father — who remarried — allegedly left her to fend for herself.
“Whether the accusations were true or not, we’ll never know, but Molly felt everything she did was met with disapproval,” Vue noted. “She felt as though both her father and her husband’s family didn’t love her children because of who she was — an outsider. Hmong by culture, but not by birth.”
Vue stressed that Molly’s life and death impart lessons for the Hmong community, “especially in how critical and judgmental our community can be for those who do not look like us that live within our society.” The writer also pointed out the bad that comes with “tribalism,” such as not standing up or speaking out “against our own relatives when they are mistreating others.”
The July 1 case has sparked discussions elsewhere on social media. In one Reddit thread, users speculated on reasons why Molly resorted to such extreme measures.
“Twenty-three years old and three children under 5? She’s had a stressful few years,” one wrote. “This poor, poor family, for him to feel suicidal and her to feel this was the only option. Whether she did it out of despair or in a narcissistic way, the poor kids and the aftermath for their friends and family will be horrific.”
Another Reddit user echoed the bullying allegation after Kos’ death. “His family was calling her all sorts of names the day he died, they are probably celebrating,” the user noted.
After Kos’ death, a social worker reportedly spoke with Molly and stayed with the family for a few hours. Lee said they thought there might be 24-hour supervision following the incident.
“This whole thing could’ve been prevented if there was someone to look after the mother and the children,” Lee told KARE 11.
Lee, 60, has started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the family of five’s funeral. As of press time, the campaign has collected $7,690.
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