Police Release 911 Tapes in Emington Murder-Suicide

Authorities released new details on the shootings in Emington

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Listen as concerned neighbors call to report gunfire in their small farm community. (Published Monday, Dec 19, 2011)

    An Illinois woman shot each of her three children, including a 10-month-old baby, in the head before apparently killing herself, authorities said Monday. Investigators arriving on the scene found their bodies in the backyard, the woman's hands stained with soot from firing the gun.

    Authorities released autopsy results and frantic 911 calls on the day of the shootings in Emington, a farming community with 117 residents about 85 miles southwest of Chicago. Neighbors have said the gunfire erupted moments after McMeen's two older children got off a school bus on Friday.

    Neighbor: Shooting an 'Absolute Tragedy'

    [CHI] Neighbor: Shooting an "Absolute Tragedy"
    Bodies of five people were found Friday near home in Emington, Ill., about 80 southwest of Chicago. (Published Saturday, Dec 17, 2011)

    Investigators found the body of her live-in boyfriend, Daniel Warren, 29, inside the couple's rented home. They found McMeen, 30, and her three children in the backyard.

    Next-door neighbor Annelise Fiedler said she ran out of her house when she heard the first burst of gunfire. She saw McMeen hovering over her baby as if she had dropped her.

    Fiedler asked McMeen if everything was all right.

    "She looked at me and said, 'No, everything is not all right,'" Fiedler said. Then, McMeen shot the baby.

    Autopsy results released Monday said 10-month-old Maggie Warren had two gunshot wounds in the head and a separate wound where a bullet grazed her neck.

    McMeen's two older children, 8-year-old Skyler Lemke and 7-year-old Ian Lemke, also were shot in the head. Autopsy results showed Skyler died of two gunshot wounds to the head and one to the upper back. Ian was shot once in the head.

    Daniel Warren, 29, had gunshot wounds in the back and neck, authorities said.

    They said McMeen shot herself in the neck. She was found with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun next to her and soot had been deposited on her hands. Shell casings found at the scene were of the same caliber as the handgun.

    It still remains a mystery what prompted the shootings. Even loved ones said everything seemed fine just 24 hours beforehand.

    "It doesn't make sense, and I'll never be able to understand it or put the pieces together," said Daniel Warren's mother, Wendy, in an exclusive interview with NBCChicago.

    Wendy Warren took home video of her granddaughter, Maggie, getting new clothes the day before the little girl was killed. She said everything about that day seemed normal.

    "We had talked about Christmas and what we were going to do," Wendy Warren said.

    Investigators have not identified a possible motive. Martin Meredith, the sheriff in rural Livington County, said in a statement that authorities were "still putting together this tragic incident" and wanted to talk to anyone who spoke to McMeen or Daniel Warren before the shootings.

    Relatives of Brad Lemke, Skyler and Ian's father, declined to comment.

    Wendy Warren said McMeen suffered from bi-polar disorder but outside of an occasional argument, she never exhibited any kind of violent behavior.

    "You can't explain it, you can't explain what happened," Wendy Warren said, "but I take comfort in knowing that God doesn't let anything happen without a reason."

    Memorial funds have been set up in the names of the three children at the First National Bank in Dwight, Ill.