A suicide note was found, but authorities have not revealed the content of the note and a motive for the violence has not been revealed

By Steve Helling and Christine Pelisek
December 18, 2018 02:12 PM
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A Tennessee mother fired 34 bullets when she killed her four teenage children in October and then fatally shot herself, recently-released autopsy reports show.

Cynthia Collier, 55, and her four children — 14-year-old Bo Li, 14-year-old Meigan Lin, 15-year-old Lia Lin and Kaileigh Lin, 17 — were found dead in their Columbia home on October 15. Authorities said the autopsy reports — which were obtained by multiple outlets including WKRN, USA Today Network and the Associated Press — confirm the deaths resulted from a quadruple-murder-suicide perpetrated by Collier.

The autopsies show Kaileigh was shot 13 times in a bathroom. Lia was shot nine times in her bed. Bo and Meigan were also shot in their beds. Bo sustained four gunshot wounds while Meigan was shot eight times.

Collier died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

A shotgun and another firearm were used in the attack and no drugs or alcohol were found in the system of any of the deceased.

A suicide note was found, but authorities have not revealed the content of the note and a motive for the violence has not been revealed.

Collier’s adult son discovered the bodies at about 6 p.m. after he came home from work.

While investigators have described an apparently loving home, court records detail domestic turmoil behind the scenes, including a pending divorce and disputes over parenting access.

Collier had three older children with her estranged husband, whom she wed in 1982, before they adopted four younger children from China in the 2000s, court records show.

In a press conference after the bodies were found, Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland said Collier was a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her four youngest children.

Collier “appeared to be a very loving mother, with the exception of this one incident,” Rowland said.

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“This appears to be a loving home,” he explained. “It’s an immaculate home and a very loving family. So a motive would be very important to know what would lead someone to do this to her loved ones.”

Court documents obtained by PEOPLE, however, show Collier’s relationship with her husband had grown strained, in part due to his interest in forging a relationship with his youngest children after years of absence.

Collier and her husband began divorce proceedings in March but had been living apart prior to then.

In May, Collier’s husband filed a motion asking for parenting time with his adopted children. In a subsequent filing, Collier asked a judge to deny his request, stating that he had been an absent father and “missed every major milestone in their lives for the past nine years.”

Collier argued her husband was “attempting to force himself into the lives of these children who are otherwise doing well without him,” her filing states. Their four youngest children also said they had never had a relationship with their father and described their relationship with him as difficult.

And then, on May 29, Collier’s husband filed a motion to dismiss his request for parenting time “as the parties are attempting to reconcile.”