Tate Spillett Sr., 37, shot the children in their beds early Sunday morning, then killed himself using a semi-automatic rifle, Preston police said. The murder-suicide wasn’t discovered until late that afternoon.
Investigators say it's unclear why Spillett killed his son, daughter and stepson, but say that he and his wife were going through a divorce. Spillett's wife was in Illinois at the time of the shooting, the Associated Press reports.
Six-year-old Jessica Spillett, 7-year-old Tate Spillett Jr. and 15-year-old Corbin Hillaker were likely sleeping when they were shot, police said.
A YouCaring.com page has been established to help the children’s mother with funeral expenses. “Tragedy has struck this small town & at the center of it all is a mother who now must bury her 3 children,” the page states. By 6:30 a.m. Tuesday the effort had raised nearly $8,500, and contributions also can be made to the “Summer’s Angels Memorial Fund” at Wells Fargo Bank, the page’s organizer said.
Preston police were called to the home on West 200 South about 5 p.m.Sunday after the bodies were found by a family friend.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho State Police forensic team and detectives are assisting in the investigation. Preston, population 5,200, is located near the Utah border in Southeast Idaho.
The Statesman’s Kristin Rodine contributed