Bodies of woman, 3 children recovered from Vadnais Lake

Search crews in lake
Teams in dry suits and Ramsey County Sheriff's deputies search for the bodies of a mother and her three children at Vadnais Lake, Saturday in Vadnais Heights.
Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP

The bodies of three children and a woman believed to be their mother have been recovered from Vadnais Lake in Ramsey County. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is treating the case as a murder-suicide investigation.

A search began Friday for the family after a man was found dead inside a home in Maplewood. The call had been reported to police as a suicide.

“They had been looking for the mother with the children as a result of the incident that occurred,” said Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin. “They were concerned about her wellbeing and the wellbeing of the children.”

Martin did not discuss the man’s connection to the case, citing the ongoing investigation. Authorities tracked the woman’s cell phone on Friday afternoon to Vadnais Lake.

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People on shore of lake at twilight
Friends and family gathered at Vadnais Lake after news of a dead child being pulled out of the lake broke, Friday, July in Vadnais Heights. The bodies of three young children and a woman believed to be their mother have been recovered from the lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.
Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP

An initial search recovered the body of one child at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Just after midnight, another child’s body was recovered.

Crews continued the search overnight. The body of the woman was recovered at around 10:40 a.m. Saturday, and the third child was recovered about a half hour later.

The bodies were recovered on the eastern shore of the lake.

“Emotionally, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and water patrol for most of it, and this was one of the more difficult ones,” said Commander Eric Bradt, with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol.

The medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of the deaths. Authorities have not identified the woman or the two boys and one girl believed to have died.

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