Sheriff IDs mom, 4 kids killed in murder-suicide; asks what made her 'do this to her loved ones'
NATALIE NEYSA ALUND | The Tennessean
COLUMBIA — Authorities on Tuesday released the identities of a stay-at-home mom and her four teenage children found dead in an apparent murder-suicide this week inside their Columbia home.
Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland identified the woman as 55-year-old Cynthia Collier and the four Collier children as 14-year-old Bo Li, 14-year-old Meigan Lin, 15-year-old Lia Lin and 17-year-old Kaileigh Lin.
Rowland said evidence indicated Collier's wound was self-inflicted.
All five family members were found about 6 p.m. Monday by an older brother who also lived in the home in the 1000 block of Carters Creek Pike in Columbia. The brother, who is not a suspect, dialed 911 to report the deaths.
Their bodies were in multiple areas of the home, investigators said, and two firearms were recovered from the scene.
Investigators were still trying to determine a motive Tuesday afternoon.
"There was some information that was left, it was very brief and vague, that would indicate that it would be murder-suicide," Rowland said.
The children were home-schooled by their mother, Rowland said. There was no record of domestic situations at the family's home.
"This appears to be a loving home," Rowland said during a press conference in Columbia Tuesday morning. "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 show Collier married the children's father, Randall Collier, in 1982. This past spring, Cynthia and Randall Collier were in divorce proceedings, but by the end of May they had asked for the case to be dismissed. They were attempting to reconcile, according to court documents.
Along with the teens killed Monday, Cynthia and Randall Collier had three adult children. All seven children gave sworn affidavits in the divorce filings, stating that their parents had been unofficially separated since at least 2007 and that Randall Collier had not lived on the same property as the family since 2009.
Cynthia Collier and the teenage children moved to Columbia from Franklin within the past couple years, court documents show.
In statements included in the divorce filing, the teenage children asked to continue living with their mother, saying they barely knew their father. The couple’s three adult children indicated they had a strained relationship with their father, even when they shared a home before the separation.
On Tuesday the Sheriff's Office continued to investigate what led up to the family's death.
Mariah Timms and Elaina Sauber contributed to this reporting. Reach Natalie Neysa Alund at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.