An Oregon mother mired in a custody battle killed her two young children before turning a gun on herself, police and her former partner said.
Ashley Palmer, 31, was found dead early Tuesday from a gunshot wound inside an apartment in Gresham, where cops also discovered her two children, ages 6 and 8, gunned down in a gruesome murder-suicide, police said.
Gresham police identified Palmer in a statement Wednesday following the completion of autopsies in three deaths. Cops responded to the apartment after getting a welfare check request, cops said.
Palmer had separated from her spouse, Jenavie Palmer, two years ago and the couple were in the middle of a “pretty bad” custody dispute, her former partner told The Oregonian.
“We were in the middle of trial and the children were going back and forth between our houses,” Jenavie Palmer, 34, told the outlet.
Palmer, who lives in nearby Portland, said her former spouse was dealing with the possibility of having to share custody of their children. They were identified by the newspaper as 6-year-old Kayleana Beatrice Palmer and 8-year-old Xavier Rayvaughn Danger Palmer.
Ashley Palmer had sent Jenavie a disturbing text just hours before the bodies were found. The message included a YouTube link to a music playlist with the words “mother children murder suicide 2022,” The Oregonian reported.
Jenavie Palmer said she called 911 and cops responded to the Gresham apartment, but they were unable to get inside. Investigators then told her to wait until the morning to check on the children, she told the Oregonian.
Jenavie Palmer said she last saw the couple’s children earlier this month and was supposed to get them back later on Tuesday.
“They were loved,” Palmer told the newspaper. “They had their whole lives ahead of them and it was stolen from them. They are going to be very, very missed.”
Ashley Palmer had twice previously claimed in court that the couple’s children faced imminent harm if her former spouse was granted partial custody, according to court records cited by The Oregonian.
A judge granted an immediate danger order last July, but later dismissed it upon determining Kayleana and Xavier were not endangered.
The judge later dismissed Ashley Palmer’s second request for an immediate danger order in late February. Jenavie Palmer then sought shared custody of the kids in April, claiming in court Ashley Palmer had been previously charged with assaulting her when they lived in Idaho, but the charge was ultimately pleaded down.
Other residents at the apartment complex said they were shocked by the murder-suicide.
“I almost started crying because I’m, like, wow, how can that happen?” mom of three Adrienne Collins told KATU.