Authorities in Lewis County say a mother killed her two children before taking her own life.
Deputy Robert Ryan of the Lewis County Sheriff’s office said during a Thursday morning news conference that Beth Ann Kraus, 32, shot her two kids – Kaden, 5, and Keira, 3 — before setting fire to the barn on their Alum Bridge property. Deputy Ryan says Kraus then took her own life with a single bullet to the head.
Ryan said during the course of hundreds of hours of investigative work police established a solid alibi for Mr. Kraus, who was nowhere near the home at the time the deaths took place the night of Nov. 11. Investigators also said they found a letter from Beth to a friend, containing money and references to her state of mind before committing the double-homicide.
Medical records obtained by the sheriff’s office contributed to their belief that Kraus was capable of the killings, although they would not provide specific information about the types of medical records they were referring to, citing federal restrictions on releasing patient information.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s office says the couple’s relationship was strained and the marriage was in jeopardy, but there was no history of domestic violence in the home and authorities had never responded to a call at the residence before.
All three deaths took place in a barn on the Kraus family property, protected by a cove and out of sight from the main road. It’s believed the deaths occurred between 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Nov. 11. The barn had completely burned to the ground when Mr. Kraus returned home from work the following morning.
—Reuben Perdue, WAJR-FM, Clarksburg)