Minnesota Father Who Allegedly Killed Family in Murder-Suicide Left Reference to Wife's Muslim Faith Written in Her Own Blood: Police
"What it all adds up to is this was a guy who snapped," Apple Valley Police Chief Jon Rechtzigel said
After a year-long investigation, Minnesota police say they still don’t know exactly why military veteran and filmmaker David Crowley killed his wife and young daughter, before turning the gun on himself.
But they do know this: Along with the bodies of his family, Crowley left behind multiple messages – one even written in his wife’s blood.
“What it all adds up to is this was a guy who snapped,” Apple Valley Police Chief Jon Rechtzigel told the Pioneer Press. “To cross that line, to go to that level of violence – and this is domestic violence, make no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
“I mean, you take the lives of your daughter and your wife and besides that you’re writing things on the wall in blood,” Rechtzigel continued. “Nobody thinks to do that unless they’re really of a deranged mind at that point.”
PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach Apple Valley police for comment.
The scene of the crime
In a 94-page report obtained by the Pioneer Press, Apple Valley police detail their findings from the earliest moments of the death investigation, when the Crowleys’ neighbors first reported their bodies on Jan. 17, 2015, weeks after any of them had last been seen alive.
Warning: Some of the following descriptions from the investigative report contain graphic information.
According to the report, Crowley, 29, and his 28-year-old wife Komel Crowley and 5-year-old daughter Raniya were all found shot to death in the living room of their home.
A handgun was found next to David’s hand in the living room, according to the police reports. The county medical examiner ruled Komel and Rainya’s deaths homicides, and David’s death a suicide, according to the Pioneer Press.
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All three died sometime around Dec. 26, 2014, according to the paper – though, according to the police reports, David spent an unknown amount of time in the house after shooting his wife and daughter.
By the middle of January, their bodies had been ravaged by the family dog, who had apparently been trapped in the home since their deaths, according to the police reports.
According to crime scene photos obtained by New York Daily News, an investigation of the home revealed a message on one living room wall, written in large bloody letters: “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is the greatest.”
It was David’s “last little shot by him, a sarcastic thing aimed at [Komel’s] Muslim past,” Rechtzigel told the Pioneer Press.
(Komel converted to Christianity when she married David, according to the paper.)
A “blood-smeared” Quran lay near the bodies, according to the paper, open to a prayer of forgiveness for the dead.
According to the reports, in the kitchen police found a laptop still open and running, with a TextEdit note on it reading, “I have loved you all with all of my heart.”
In a home office, police found notebook dried with blood, open to the phrases “open ‘The Rise’ ” and “most recent version.”
Crowley, who has been described as an independent filmmaker, had been working on a narrative feature called Gray State – which, according to its concept trailer, released in August 2012, appears to follow the breakdown of American society and the rise of a militarized state, with references to FEMA and economic collapse.
The Rise was a second project of David’s, according to the Pioneer Press, a documentary, which he had described as “a manifesto on the Gray State model.”
‘Our hope was that we’d find a note or something’
Reportedly a veteran of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of David’s friends told Fox9 he believed David may have had undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to the police reports, neighbors say they noted a change in David’s appearance, beginning in the fall of 2014: He began to wear Army fatigues and he cut his hear into a mohawk.
Still, some neighbors also described him as friendly, though given to moody introversion, and the family unit as seemingly normal.
“Our hope was that we’d find a note or something, and we didn’t,” police Capt. John Bermel told the Pioneer Press. “There was nothing there that would give an indication about his state of mind.”
In the months before their deaths, the family had also been distant from David’s relatives, according to the police reports.
“Of course there is a reason for the recent silence – we obviously don’t get any form of pleasure withholding communication from our own family,” Komel wrote in a Nov. 22, 2014, email to David’s sister, according to the reports.
“I didn’t think it was necessary for either David and I to spell it out, but this is all I choose to share,” she wrote. “We are dealing with an endless list of deeply personal issues silently as adults, as lovers, as partners and parents.”
In a later exchange, Komel declined the Crowley family’s invitation to join them for Christmas Eve. Instead, she wrote, they would spend the time at their home “putting up lights around the house, making some hot cocoa and telling some children’s stories by the fire.”
When police found their bodies in January, the Christmas lights were still on.