An entire family is dead, and police in two states have a mystery on their hands with clues that point toward a murder/suicide with a father to blame. Cops in Indiana say Michael Vanderlinden was driving the wrong way down the highway when he caused a head-on collision. But when cops in Michigan went to Vanderlinden's home to tell his wife, Linda, that he'd died in the crash, they found her, and the couple's two young children, dead.
Right now cops say they suspect Michael killed Linda and their two sons then committed suicide on the highway in Indiana -- although that is still just a suspicion. Either way, that means there are a total of five people gone -- including poor Juan Nelson, the man whose car was hit by Michael Vanderlinden. And for what?
The talk of a possible murder/suicide in the Vanderlinden case doesn't surprise me. We've had what feels like an epidemic of these type of family horrors in recent years. Ever since the economy started spiraling downward, the news is full of stories where a mother or father has killed the rest of their family and then done themselves in.
And every time it happens, people start looking for signs of what went wrong and wondering what could have been done to prevent it.
Believe it or not, every time, the answers are pretty simple: step up, do something, say something!
Cops say Michael Vanderlinden was on depression medication and had prompted a domestic violence investigation when Linda threatened to leave him and he grabbed her before downing several sleeping pills.
Her family, his family, their friends could have reacted and stepped in after that. They could have suggested counseling, heck, even paid for counseling if the couple was resistant. There same goes for neighbors who felt that something was off there -- they could have reached out, tried to see what was going on.
We seem so scared in this society to get involved with other people's lives. And yet, we are all part of this global village. We all have a responsibility to one another.
When your mental health is deteriorating, sometimes all it takes is one kind voice to help get you back on track, one shoulder to lean on.
There are always better options than murder. ALWAYS.
Would you step in in a situation like this? Have you?
Image via jayneandd/Flickr