A 4-year-old California girl woke up on Thursday to find a grisly scene: Both of her parents and her grandfather were dead from gunshot wounds.
The little girl used her slain grandfather’s cellphone to summon help. She called her grandmother, who later called police.
Here are 4 things to know about the tragic case.
1. The Girl Was Awakened by Gunshots
The shooting happened shortly before 3 a.m. The sound of the gunshots woke up the little girl. She called her grandmother, who was caring for a sick relative at another home, and said her father had shot himself.
According to a press release from the Amadar County Sheriff, the grandmother drove to the home and found the little girl with the bodies of Marie Leonetti, 27; Jacob Thayer, 26; and Richard Thayer, 60.
The grandmother took the girl outside and called 911. Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find that the three had been killed by gunshot wounds.
2. Police believe Jacob Thayer Shot His Father and His Wife Before Turning Gun on Himself
According to the police statement, authorities believe that Jacob shot his father and wife before fatally shooting himself. Richard and Leonetti had been shot several times.
Authorities have not given more details about the victims’ injuries, but autopsies have been scheduled on all three bodies.
“Jacob had one apparent gunshot wound, consistent with a being self-inflicted,” the police statement says. “A partially loaded Glock .40 caliber pistol registered to Jacob was found at the scene next to him.”
3. The Motive Remains Unknown
Police are trying to figure out why this happened. According to the sheriff’s press release, “the investigation into this tragedy is active and ongoing.”
In a GoFundMe created for the surviving child, a family member called the incident “a horrific event that no one could have predicted.” Several friends of Leonetti’s shared grief-filled Facebook posts in the wake of her shocking and sudden death.
“I literally just talked to you… I’m in shock… I love you so much Marie Leonetti I can’t believe I’ll never hear you laugh again… my heart is shattered,” Courtney Herrick wrote in a post on Thursday.
She added in a follow-up message: “My heart is broken.. soul is just shattered and so sad.. angry.. devastated… I just want my f—— friend back…”
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4. The Little Girl Was Not Injured
Although the girl was present at the scene, she was not physically harmed. Authorities do not believe she was ever a target.
According to KCRA, she was not treated for injuries by paramedics. She is now with relatives.
Jacob’s alleged actions have left many to wonder how this young husband and father could have made such a violent and tragic choice.
“I feel like if [Jacob] called me and was going through that, [Leonetti] would still be here,” Brandy Scott, a friend of the family, told KCRA. “But you can’t control other people’s thought process.”