A Joliet mother who is believed to have killed herself and her twin daughters in an apparent murder-suicide had complained her "body felt like it was on fire" before the horrific killings, the children's grandmother reportedly said.
In an interview with the Joliet Herald-News, Norma Henning said 41-year-old Celisa Henning had been experiencing health problems since a previous car crash and had seen roughly two dozen doctors, even visiting Mayo Clinic, before her death.
Norma Henning told the publication her daughter-in-law was "at her wits' end" but the family "never suspected something like this."
The mother and her twin daughters Makayla and Addison, who were just shy of their sixth birthday, were found dead earlier this week in their south suburban home, according to authorities.
Celisa died of a single gunshot wound to the head, and Makayla and Addison Henning each died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Will County Coroner’s office. Their final causes and manners of death will be determined at a later dates pending police, autopsy and toxicological reports, officials said.
Police are currently investigating the triple shooting as apparent murder-suicide.
Just after 3 p.m., officers responded to a death investigation at the home in the 400 block of North Reed Street in Joliet, according to a statement from Joliet police. When officers arrived they were met by a family member who directed them inside the home, where they witnessed the disturbing scene police described only as "tragic and horrible," authorities said.
“This is an on-going investigation into a very tragic incident,” Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said.
Witnesses said the father of the children made the gruesome discovery and called police Monday afternoon, though authorities did not immediately confirm that information.
"It's kind of crazy," said neighbor Jesus Franco. "I don't know why this happened. We never seen things like this happen in this area... never."
The twin sisters were just getting ready to start kindergarten at a nearby Catholic school, neighbors said.
Adele Bryant said the children would play with her dog in their yard and she would come over often to let them play. She had even recently brought the girls a back-to-school gift, a package of art pencils and paper, saying they were excited for their first year of kindergarten.
"I just wrote them a little note and wished them a happy school and hopefully they would become great artists, they loved drawing," she said.
Bryant said the family seemed "very normal" and she was "shocked" when she heard the news.
"It's a very sad loss to have a family erased," she said.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk also offered his condolences "to the family and friends."