Custody Fight Linked to Family Murder Suicide

Mom had lost battle for preschool daughters
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 16, 2009 2:27 AM CST
Authorities transport multiple fatalities from a home in San Clemente, Calif.   (AP Photo/H. LORREN AU JR./The Orange Country Register)
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(Newser) – Two preschool girls found dead inside a tony Southern California home may have been killed by their suicidal mother because she had lost a custody battle for them, police speculate. The little girls, ages 2 and 4, were found by police shot to death and lined up in a hallway of the San Clemente home. Their grandmother was also dead on the scene, along with their mom, Elizabeth Fontaine, 38. "There's no question the two children were killed first, and one of the adult females is the killer, which is unusual," said a police official.

The girls' father is not a suspect. The Texas family was staying in the rented house for a California custody hearing. A judge had recently ordered Fontaine to turn over temporary custody of the children to an aunt. Mourners yesterday placed flowers near the front of the house. "It's the little girls I think about," said one.

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