Jasmine Abbott

Jasmine Abbott

Mother, 3 children shot to death

January 21, 2011

AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB Fox 41)--A mother and her three children were found dead inside their Indiana home on Friday. Police say they all suffered gunshot wounds to the head--but police are not looking for any suspects.

Police stop short of calling it a triple murder-suicide, but say they are focusing their investigation only on the four people found dead inside the home.

The small road seems oddly busy as curious people slow down to take a look at a house on New York Street in Austin, Indiana. Karen Barrett remembers the last conversation she had with 30-year-old Amanda Bennett, "Just 'Hi! How ya doin?', she laughed, just like she, you know, she was a happy go lucky person, she just 'good how are you!' I waved my hand and went on, ya know."

Roses were left behind on a car for the four people found dead inside the burned home in Austin, Indiana Friday. Officials say Amanda Bennett and her three children--14-year-old Jasmine, 9-year-old Katelynn, and Ryan, 4-years old, all died from gunshot wounds to the head.

It appears Amanda and Katelynn might have suffered smoke inhalation. Although it is unclear how the fire started.

Police are not looking for suspects, but will not say it is a triple murder-suicide. "The detectives are not ready to make any determinations or give any exact facts on what happened inside of the home," said Sergeant Jerry Goodin, with Indiana State Police.

Friends say there were signs of marital problems. "This past Sunday night we come home from church," said Barrett, "and there were two loads of cops here and the husband and wife I assume had a scuffle because that's what my niece said, that Jasmine had come to school talking about her mom and dad getting a divorce."

But other than that, Barrett says you would never know. "He'd get out and play basketball with the kids, she'd sit out on the porch and watch 'em play you'd never know there was any family trouble, never," said Barrett.

Police would not comment on any possible domestic problems. "That is part of our investigation so there are some things that we don't want to release," said Goodin.

Debra Davidson is a cook at Austin Elementary and says she'll never forget 9-year-old Katelynn. "She always gave me and one of the other cooks a hug every day," said Davidson.

The deaths are something many just cannot comprehend. "I can't understand it," said Barrett, "I just can't see it myself, Lord knows all about it."

"We owe this not only to the family, but the public," said Goodin, "and we're going to come to some answers and when we get those answers we'll release them."

Austin schools will have extra counselors at school on Monday.

See post for dear siblings Katelynn Bennett and Ryan Bennett.


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