Services Set for Emington Family Killed in Murder-Suicide

Police say Sara McMeen shot her three children and her boyfriend before taking her own life

By Staff Report
|  Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011  |  Updated 10:43 AM CDT
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Listen as concerned neighbors call to report gunfire in their small farm community.

Listen as concerned neighbors call to report gunfire in their small farm community.

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Video Released of Baby Day Before Shootings

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.

Neighbor: Shooting an 'Absolute Tragedy'

Bodies of five people were found Friday near home in Emington, Ill., about 80 southwest of Chicago.
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Funeral services have been set for an Illinois family killed in a murder-suicide over the weekend in Emington, a small farming community about 80 miles southwest of Chicago.

Police say 30-year-old Sara McMeen shot her three children and her live-in boyfriend, Daniel Warren, 29, before taking her own life. Warren was found inside the couple's rented home. McMeen and her three children -- 10-month-old Maggie Warren, 8-year-old Skyler Lemke and 7-year-old Ian Lemke -- were located in the backyard.

Visitation for Daniel Warren and Maggie Warren is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Fruland Funeral Home, 121 W. Jefferson St., in Morris. Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the same location.

Services for Skyler and Ian will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 325 E. Mazon Ave., in Dwight. Visitation and funeral services for McMeen are set at 10 a.m. and noon Wednesday at Hager Memorial Home, 201 W. Mazon Ave., in Dwight

Autopsy results released Monday said Maggie Warren had two gunshot wounds to the head. Skyler and Ian were shot in the head as well.  Daniel Warren had gunshot wounds in the back and neck, authorities said.

Neighbor Annelise Fiedler told The Associated Press she heard a round of shots Friday afternoon and ran outside to her backyard.

She said she saw McMeen in the next yard over hovering over her baby as if she'd dropped her. Fiedler asked McMeen if everything was alright, and "she looked at me and said, 'No, everything is not alright."

McMeen fired a shot at the infant, "and then I just ran," said Fiedler, a town trustee. Fiedler said she didn't see or hear what happened after that, and she didn't see any of the other victims.

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 videotaped 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. Livingston County Sheriff Martin Meredith said in a statement that authorities were "still putting together this tragic incident."

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.

McMeen's mother, Cynthia McMeen, of nearby Dwight, issued a statement on behalf of her family after the murder-suicide asking for prayers and privacy.

"The family is drawing together during this time, relying on God, and grieving," it said. "They would ask for your prayers for all the families involved and would like their privacy to be honored."

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