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Deaths of Michigan father, his 2 children now believed to be homicide instead of murder-suicide

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Apr. 28 2021, Updated 4:39 p.m. ET

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After further investigation, authorities who originally theorized a Michigan father shot his kids and then took his own life now say the three were murdered.

“Detectives do not believe this is a random act of violence,” the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said in an April 27 statement.

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 On April 13 around 11 p.m., deputies responded to reports of a shooting in Delta Township near Lansing. 

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At the home, deputies found the bodies of Joseph Lechleitner, 47, and his 5-year-old daughter, Vivian Zwick. Both had been shot.

Lechleitner’s son, Anson Zwick, 3, was alive but gravely wounded. Emergency responders rushed him to the hospital, where he died the next evening from his gunshot injuries.

According to neighbors, WJBK reported, the children had recently moved into the home with their mother, who is still alive, and the father would visit monthly from Shingleton, a small town located in the state’s Upper Peninsula.

Lechleitner’s mother told WLNS she’s glad her son’s name is going to be cleared and that she “always believed in him” and never thought he “was capable of killing his two babies.” 


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