A grandmother who was supposed to take her two grandsons from daycare to their birthday party at home instead killed the boys and herself, Connecticut state police said.
All three bodies were found in a car Tuesday evening, two hours after an Amber Alert went out for the 2-year-old and 6-month-old. Police have classified the case as a double murder-suicide and said all three had apparent gunshot wounds, according to state police.
The last time Alton, 2, and 6-month-old Ashton Perry had been seen alive was around 2:30 p.m. in North Stonington.
Their grandmother, Debra Denison, 47, left her Stonington home with a revolver and picked them up from daycare, according to state police.
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The boys' mother, Brenda Perry, called state police around 4 p.m., when she could not find her sons and their grandmother, state police said.
She said she wanted the little boys to leave daycare early because it was Alton's birthday and they were supposed to open his presents. But the little boys and their grandmother never arrived for the party.
"I wanted him to come home and play with his new toys and have a good day," Brenda Perry said.
An Amber Alert for was issued around 7:30 p.m., according to state police, soon after a family member found a suicide note Denison had left behind.
"The mother's level of concern raised, and she reported them missing and evidence was found soon there after that rose our level of concern for the Amber Alert," Lt. Paul Vance, of State Police, said. "As soon as we retained that information, we ramped it up additionally and did everything we could, used every tool to attempt to locate these three people."
Police said Denison suffered from mental illness and Brenda and her husband, Jeremy Perry, told NBC Connecticut that Denison had a gun and suffered from split personalities.
Around 9:30 p.m., two hours after the alert was issued, state police received the call that would reveal the tragic end to the Amber Alert.
A caller said a suspicious vehicle was parked near Lake of Isle in Preston and three injured people were inside the car. Two of them appeared to be children.
Troopers and EMS responded, located the vehicle and a revolver and found Denison and her two grandsons. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Christine Hare, who owns the daycare, said Brenda Perry was a former employee of hers and had called just that morning to ensure that Denison was on the list of people approved to pick up the boys.
Before Denison left with them, they followed protocol, checking her identification, Denison said.
The state police are investigating and the Office of the Chief States Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.
"We are certainly going to look at everything having to do with their movements, from the time they were picked up to the time they were located dead," Vance said.
A vigil has been planned for Friday at 7 p.m. at the North Stonington Recreation Facility.