The investigation of a murder-suicide in South Carolina concerning a mother who killed her estranged husband’s girlfriend, followed by her two children, is now closed.
In a press release by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, detectives concluded that Jessica Edens, 36, went to her parents’ home on July 12, the day before she shot her two children, and stole a .40 caliber handgun while her parents were out of town.
Officials stated they believed the weapon was used in the murder of Meredith Rahme, 28, in Greenville, South Carolina and in the murder-suicide that followed in Edens’ vehicle later that day.
Edens believed Rahme was her estranged husband’s girlfriend when she killed Rahme, then fled the scene and fatally shot her own young children and herself in a gas station parking lot amid a messy divorce and custody dispute, according to police.
She shot and killed Rahme in the latter’s car at her Greenville apartment complex.
The Sheriff’s Office searched through telephone records obtained by a search warrant and confirmed Edens was “distraught” after a Family Court hearing that occurred earlier in the week, before the shootings on July 13.
Rahme lived in the same apartment complex as Edens’ estranged husband, Ben Edens, and the two also worked together, according to authorities.
“From what we have gathered, Jessica Edens and [Ben] were separated at time of incident, and there were custody issues regarding one of the two children, a child they have in common,” Police Chief Ken Miller said at a press conference.
Officials said the children, 9-year-old son Hayden King, and 5-year-old daughter Harper Edens, were likely shot in the rear cargo area of Edens’ SUV before she made a final phone call to her husband while he was in the presence of Greenville authorities.
Ben and Jessica Edens shared daughter Harper, while Hayden was Jessica’s son from a previous relationship.
In Monday’s press release, officials believe Edens created a plan before the murder-suicide that would have “everlasting consequences for her husband” Ben Edens.
Deputies who found Eden’s vehicle were forced to use a baton to break into the driver’s side window in order to gain access to the vehicle.
The children and their mother were found dead at the scene. Each had a single gunshot wound to the head.