DULUTH, MN – The identities of a Minnesota family of five who were discovered dead in their Duluth home on Wednesday have been released by authorities, who have confirmed that the horrific incident appears to have been a murder-suicide carried out by a member of the family who reportedly was struggling with mental health issues.
Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad, 29, had reportedly posted on Facebook about mental health issues that he had been dealing with for years, and that he had made the decision to kill himself and several of his family members as well.
Cole-Skogstad then sent a direct message to another family member, who frantically contacted police about their relative’s purported intentions. At 11:18 a.m. on Wednesday, Duluth Police Department officers received a request to do a wellness check at Cole-Skogstad’s home.
When police arrived at the scene just after 3 p.m., it sadly was too late; in addition to finding Cole-Skogstad’s lifeless body, they also discovered the bodies of Riana Lou Barry, 44; Sean Christopher Barry, 47; Shiway Elizabeth Barry; 12, Sadie Lucille Barry, 9; and a family dog.
Police Chief Mike Tusken called the incident an “unimaginable tragedy,” and confirmed that Cole-Skogstad is suspected of having carried out the murder-suicide, with all of the victims having been discovered deceased in their own beds.
“In my 30 years of policing, I have never seen anything like this” Tusken said. “Sometimes people forget that the officers and investigators responding to the scene have families too. This is devastating for them to respond to, to see, and to process afterwards. I cannot thank the members of our team enough for their service, and for their care for this community.”
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide Help is available; speak with someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the 24/7 toll-free hotline 1-800-273-8255.