Troubled Grandmother Kills 2 Grandsons, Then Herself

handgunThis is one of those stories that just haunts you, the kind of horrifying tale you wish wasn't true. Debra Denison picked up grandsons Alton and 6-month-old Ashton from day care and was supposed to take them home where a party was planned for Alton's second birthday. The problem is, they never showed up. An Amber Alert went up for the three as those who knew them feared something sinister had happened. It had -- but what they discovered was beyond their worst nightmares. Denison had shot and killed her defenseless grandchildren before turning the gun on herself. And as more facts of the case come to light, it seems there were signs something may have been wrong with the woman all along.


Family members have said that Denison had bipolar disorder and a history of mental health issues. The parents knew Denison had a gun and even told reporters that she had "split personalities." Frightening details, to be sure. Still, I can see why they never thought the boys' grandmother would ever hurt them. She was family, after all. And you never want to believe that a family member, especially one so close, could do something so evil.

More than that, sometimes it's hard for people to really see the danger lurking. If you have been around this person your whole life or for many years, their odd behavior may seem normal because they have always acted that way. Police believe that Denison had the gun when she collected the kids. Their bodies were found in a parked car two hours after the alert went out and the deaths were quickly ruled a double murder-suicide after a suicide note and revolver were uncovered at the scene. (Details of the note have not been released yet.)

It's such a difficult situation for these parents. No doubt they have many questions about why this happened. They talked about the joy of planning Alton's birthday party in the days leading up to the disappearance and how excited they were to watch him open his new toys. Now, they must plan three funerals. Just heartbreaking.

Do the details of this story shock you?


Image via RobBixbyPhotography/Flickr

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