The Ramsey County medical examiner confirmed the causes of death of a Minnesota couple and their children, who were recovered from Vadnais Lake, in what authorities are investigating as a triple murder-suicide.
Maplewood Police officers responded to the 1300 block of Pearson Drive in Maplewood on July 1 when Molly Cheng, 23, reported that her 27-year-old husband, Yee Lee, had shot himself.
Lee’s cause of death was confirmed to be a suicide by gunshot wound.
The police later issued a statewide alert to locate and check the welfare of Cheng and her three children when they received a call from a relative at 4 p.m. stating that Cheng was going to attempt suicide and kill her children.
Police tracked the mother’s cell phone location to Vadnais-Sucker Lake Park at around 5:45 p.m. Cheng’s car and the shoes of the children were found on the east shore of the lake.
Deputies recovered the body of Quadrillion T. Lee, 4, from the lake at around 7:30 p.m. His cause of death was reported to be drowning and smothering.
Phoenix Lee, 5, was recovered at 12:03 a.m. on Saturday. His cause of death was determined to be drowning.
Cheng was recovered at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday. She reportedly drowned by suicide. The third child, Estella Zoo Siab Lee, 3, was found 20 minutes later. Her cause of death was reported to be drowning and smothering.
Community leaders prompted counseling to the victims’ families and Hmong families in the Twin Cities after the tragedy left the Hmong community in shock and struggling to cope.
The Hmong 18 Council of Minnesota along with family and community members will hold a candlelight vigil at Vadnais Lake on July 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Family members of Lee and Cheng have set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help raise money for the family’s funeral expenses.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For a list of international suicide hotlines, click here.