“They were awesome kids, absolutely great," a relative told a local news station Monday

By Harriet Sokmensuer
February 20, 2019 04:51 PM
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Credit: GoFundMe

Michigan authorities say a mom fatally shot her three children Monday before turning the gun on herself.

On Wednesday, Kent County officials identified Aubrianne Moore, 28, and her daughters Alaina Rau, 2, Cassidy Rodery, 6, and Kyrie Rodery, 8, as the four people found dead at a Grand Rapids home Monday afternoon, a Kent County Sheriff Office official tells PEOPLE

Their deaths were ruled a triple murder-suicide, and police determined the mom shot her children, the official says.

The officials says Moore used a bolt-action hunting-style rifle to fatally shoot her kids in a wooded area near their home. She then loaded their bodies into her car and returned home, where she killed herself outside the vehicle.

In a letter to local parents obtained by PEOPLE, Tri-County Area School’s Superintendent Allen Cumings wrote that Cassidy’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Kelley, described the 6-year-old as “a friend to everyone.”

Kyrie, a third grader, “loved to read, always volunteered to help others, her classmates loved her, and she was a good friend,” her teacher, Mrs. Schnepp, said in the letter.

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“They were awesome kids, absolutely great. The oldest excelled in reading like no other. The youngest one, she was just so joyful and so happy all the time. And then the middle child, she was just rambunctious and wild and always put a smile on everybody’s face,” their cousin Alyssa Rau told WOOD-TV earlier this week.

The sheriff’s spokesperson tells PEOPLE that authorities had been called to the home in the past.

The calls were “mental health related issues with some incidents that could be characterized as domestic civil disputes,” the spokesperson says.

Court documents obtained by local station WZZM13 and WILX reveal that Moore had a history of mental illness and suffered from hallucinations, and schizophrenia.

In September, Moore was declared a danger to herself and hospitalized for more than a week, the stations report.

On a GoFundMe page to cover funeral costs for the family, the girls’ uncle Joseph Graham wrote, “I lost my nieces, and the world lost 3 beautiful angels; Kyrie Rodery, Cassidy Rodery, and Alaina Moore. At the hand of their own mother. No one understands and no one ever will but what I am trying to accomplish is to give my big brother and nephew some sort of support.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.