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Crime News Family Crimes

A Mother Drowned Her 3 Children And Herself After Husband's Suicide, Authorities Say

Authorities are treating the deaths of Molly Cheng, 23, and her three children, ages 3, 4, and 5, as a triple murder-suicide. 

By Jonathan Gringauz
Ramsey County Sheriff Press Conference regarding the 4 Bodies Recovered from Vadnais Lake

A Minnesota mother drowned her three children and herself after her husband committed suicide, authorities say.

The bodies of Molly Cheng, 23, and her three kids – Phoenix Lee, 5; Quadrillion T. Lee, 4; and Estella Zoo Siab Lee, 3 – were recovered from Vadnais Lake last week, according to a statement from the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

The deaths came hours after Maplewood Police were first called to the family's home Friday morning when Cheng reported that her husband, Yee Lee, had shot himself, the sheriff's office said.

Police arranged for social workers to come to the scene to assist Cheng and her children.

Around 4 p.m., a family member of Cheng alerted authorities that Cheng might kill her children and herself. A statewide alert was issued.

Authorities tracked Cheng's phone to a lakeside park, where her car, and several pairs of children's shoes, were found, the sheriff’s office stated. A search was immediately coordinated with police, fire, and medical services.

That night, authorities recovered the body of Quadrillion. Hours later, Phoenix was found, and the following morning, the bodies of Estella and Cheng were recovered.

The sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday that each of the children had drowned. The two youngest had also been smothered, according to authorities. Cheng’s cause of death was also drowning, and the medical examiner ruled it a suicide.

"Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and community impacted by this terrible tragedy," the sheriff’s office stated, while indicating it was investigating the deaths as a triple murder-suicide.”The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the circumstances of this incident to provide clarity and closure to the surviving family members."

Chong Lue Lee, Yee Lee's father, asked the public to avoid rumors and speculation about the couple's relationship as he grappled with the shock of the deaths.

"They are so young, and they had a bright future," Lee told the Sahan Journal, a nonprofit news organization focused on Minnesota immigrants and communities of color. "I wish this never happened to them."

Lee also expressed concerns about how Maplewood Police dealt with the situation following his son's death.

"In our mind, because we trust the professionals, we thought there might be 24-hour supervision for her because of what happened. But then they released the kids to her and then it was a short period of time, just about two to three hours, and then the next tragedy happened where she drowned the kids," Lee told NBC affiliate KARE 11. "This whole thing could've been prevented if there was someone to look after the mother and the children."

A candlelight vigil will be held at Vadnais Lake to mourn and honor the family on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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