Jessica Janusas

Jessica Janusas

Jessica Janusas (15) and her stepfather were found dead in an apparent murder suicide

June 13, 2007

A man and his stepdaughter were found dead Monday night in what coroner's office officials are initially calling a murder-suicide.

Mickey Gordon, 42, and Jessica Janusas, 15, both of 519 N. Colfax, were found dead in the home, the Lake County coroner's office said. Gordon died of a gunshot wound to the head, and Janusas died from gunshot wounds to the body, officials said.

An autopsy, which is scheduled for this morning, and a police investigation will reveal more about the incident, a coroner's spokesman said.

Friends, classmates and teammates of Janusas, a Calumet High School student, gathered Monday night on lawns around the single-story home on Colfax, Griffith's eastern border with Calumet Township. Word of the deaths spread through cell phones Monday night.

"She was an honor student, a really good kid," said Melody Jackson, Lake Ridge Fire Department chief and mother of one of Janusas' friends.

A relative found the pair dead of gunshot wounds about 5 p.m. in the home, sheriff's Detective Robert Bridgeman said. The coroner's office received a call at 5:44 p.m., officials there said.

Bridgeman offered no comment on whether police are seeking any suspects. Police had spoken with no witnesses to the killings, he said.

"We're still trying to piece everything together," he said.

Janusas was a softball player and cheerleader, friends said. She was upbeat, they said.

"I don't think she was ever mad or sad," Jessa Musall said.

Those gathered had less to say about Gordon.

"I was really shocked when somebody told me it was Mickey," neighbor Larry Little said. Little said he went to Calumet Township High School and played softball with Gordon more than a decade ago.

"This is so sad," Little said.

Teens talked to reporters on lawns bathed in red and blue lights, but tried to block television cameras from filming the scene. They formed a human wall around the house about 9 p.m. They cheered when one child climbed on another's shoulders to block a camera. Jackson pulled her full-sized truck in front of the house.

Shayla Snedeker

Shayla Snedeker

Shayla Snedeker (19) was killed by her father in a double murder-suicide

June 9, 2008

A double murder-suicide has left neighbors shaken, and wondering what would make a father kill his wife and daughter, then turn the gun on himself.

Police were called to a home just north of Argos Monday morning.

Police say the husband and wife who lived there had ongoing marital problems and were in the process of getting divorced.

The crime scene tape is gone, but the question remains: Why did it have to end like this?

Dustin Younger stopped at the home to make sure what he had heard really happened.

"It tears me up," he told WSBT News.

He worked with Susan Snedecker.

"We were really close," he said. "She was like a second mother to me."

Police say overnight, Susan's husband Terry shot and killed her, their 19-year-old daughter Shayla, and then turned the gun on himself.

Their 12-year-old son made the gruesome discovery when he woke up.

"He was obviously upset and distraught about what had occurred here," explained Det. Lt. Ward Byers of the Marshall County police. "But he was being a very brave young man, and was able to sit down and talk with us about what occurred and what he observed when he woke up in the morning."

Neighbors were caught off guard.

"They were very good people," said neighbor Michael Hammond. "Terry had been sick, and I had been mowing his yard and stuff for him - just neighbor stuff. This was not anticipated."

Officials at the Argos Community Schools - where Shayla graduated from recently and the 12-year-old still attends - called in extra counselors and their crisis intervention team.

"I know the staff, the individual teachers, and so on are fielding a lot of individual questions and concerns," said Ronald Leichty of the Argos Community Schools.

Many in the small community are now asking why.

"Last time I was here everything was all good," Younger said. "It didn't seem like they had any problems or anything."

Shayla Snedecker was a student at Ancilla College. School officials say they're deeply distressed and still in a state of shock. They also have extra grief counselors on hand.

See post for dear mother Susan Snedeker here.