A West Virginia mother left behind a series of handwritten notes addressing the mental health “demons” she was battling before fatally shooting her five children, setting the family’s house on fire and turning the gun on herself.
Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan said in a press conference last week that authorities had determined 25-year-old Oreanna Myers murdered her children on Dec. 8—less than an hour after helping two of the children get off the school bus—before burning the family’s home to the ground and killing herself in the yard with a shot gun.
Authorities believe Myers shot all five children, including her three biological children Kian Myers, 4; Nova Myers, 3: and Haiken Jirachi Myers, 1; and two older stepchildren Shaun Dawson Bumgarner, 7; and Riley James Bumgarner, 6, before she set the blaze around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 that destroyed their home.
Her husband and father of four of the children, Brian Bumgarner, had been staying at his father’s house for the week to be closer to his work after the family’s vehicle was deemed inoperable following a car accident.
“I had shot all the boys in the head. I had set house on fire. I had shot myself in the head,” Myers allegedly wrote in note left behind titled “My Confession” according to Sloan. “Mental health is serious. I hope one day someone will help others like me. Mental health is not to joke about or taking lightly. When someone begs, pleads, cries out for help, please help them. You just might save a life or more lives.”
The note was one of just a series of messages Myers left behind in a Ziplock bag affixed with duct tape to the passenger side mirror of the family’s vehicle.
“To whomever finds this first, you’ll need to call Brian Bumgarner, he is husband, father,” another note read.
That note also directed authorities to contact Raven Bumgarner, who was the biological mother of the two older children, and to contact Myers’ mother.
“Tell her I’m sorry,” the note read. “This is no one’s fault but my own. My demons won over me and there’s no going back. So sorry I wasn’t strong enough. Thank you.”
Sloan said the note was signed “XOXO” and had Myers' initials “OAM.”
By the driver’s side floor board of the car, authorities found another note in a Ziplock bag addressed to Myers’ husband Brian.
“XOXO. I am so sorry Brian. I was not strong enough for you or this family. My head is so (explicative). I am sorry for my evil crime. I was not strong enough to fight these demons,” she wrote, according to Sloan. “Snap, crunch, boom... So depressed. Heart numb. Soul completely shattered. I am sorry I failed you. I am sorry I failed our handsome boys. I am so sorry I was not strong enough.”
The note had a bloody fingerprint and was signed “OAM.”
Sloan said authorities were called to the family’s home along Flynns Creek Road near Williamsburg just after 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 after neighbors reported seeing flames coming from the house.
Authorities arrived a few minutes later to find the home fully engulfed in flames and Myers' body at a picnic table at the south side of the residence with a gunshot wound to the head.
She was wearing a coat with a hood and had a red line drawn across her face from “the bridge of her nose, underneath her eyes that went from ear to ear,” Sloan said.
Investigators discovered a shotgun nearby.
Just an hour before the blaze, around 2:25 p.m., Myers had walked to the bus stop to get two of her children, Shaun and Kian off the bus.
While she normally made “general conversation” with the bus driver and had her younger children in tow, Sloan said this time she showed up at the bus stop alone and did not speak to the bus driver.
When investigators later reviewed the video captured from the bus, it showed Myers with the same unusual red line drawn across her face.
As Kian was getting off of the bus, Sloan said he could be heard asking his mother either “What is that red or what is that blood on your face.” Myers allegedly replied that she “drew on myself” before they turned and walked toward the family’s home.
In the days leading up to the grisly murders, Myers’ mental health had been spiraling and appeared to be punctuated by her husband’s decision to stay with his father and brother during the week so that he was able to get a ride to work each day after the family’s only drivable vehicle had been damaged.
Brian Bumgarner had been staying at his father’s home for about 10 days before the murders, but was returning home on the weekends to stay with his family.
Sloan, however, said the arrangement had Myers “obviously upset” and shared text messages she had sent to her husband in the days leading up to her death.
“Don’t worry about this piece of (explicative) anymore. You won’t have nothing come back to but corpse. You are choosing money over my depression just shows I truly am a piece of (expletive). No one cares. Why should I?,” she wrote in one message.
Another message said that while “money will come and go” that there would be “no replacing me.”
“No too busy and worried about money, exactly why I keep telling myself why bother? I beg and cry for help, but never do I get it. You’re too worried about missing work. Money, money, money,” another message allegedly said. “My depression is an inconvenience to you and your work life.”
Sloan said there was no evidence that Myers had tried to get outside help for her mental health struggles before she killed the boys.
In another text message, she made a reference that Brian “can’t have kids if they ain’t around” and repeatedly referenced her declining mental state.
“I do not care anymore. Can’t have me if I am not around (explicative) I hope all the money is worth it,” she said.
Sloan that the Brian Bumgarner often responded explaining that he needed to keep his job so that he could pay for the family’s bills, rent and food. He had also called 911 the day before the murders after he became increasingly concerned when he couldn't reach his wife to request a welfare check, however, he later told a deputy that the check wasn't needed after he had made contact with his wife and found out everything was fine.
After the devastating deaths of his family members, Brian later took to Facebook to describe the “truly dark time” and urged others to “never leave someone in an argument,” according to The New York Post.
He encouraged others to “hug everyone you love a lot tighter” and “say I love you way too much.”
“Take a lot of pictures with the ones you love,” he said, according to The Sun. “You never know when it’ll be the last time you see them. Please don’t take any second for granted.”
Sloan said the investigation into the deaths is now closed. All five of the children’s bodies were recovered from the charred remains of the home after days of tireless searching by authorities.
“Our moral fabric finds it unconscionable that a mother could harm her own children or take their lives. We have learned of that happening in other localities but unfortunately, we’ve experienced that in our community,” Sloan said. “Obviously we can’t determine why Oreanna Myers chose to end the lives of five children, and then take her own life, however, through all the facts and evidence obtained during this investigation and all the information that’s been acquired, that is what we concluded did occur on Dec. 8, 2020.”
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