Thursday, October 7, 2010

Colorado Springs: 13-year-old autistic boy and sibling killed by mother

Essex Lane deaths apparent murder-suicide

A mother apparently shot her two children in their home Monday while her husband was at work, then turned the gun on herself, Colorado Springs police said an autopsy by the El Paso County coroner determined.

The bodies of Rene Ogden, 38, and her twin 13-year-old son and daughter were found in the family’s home at 1941 Essex Lane east of Wasson High School by Tommy Ogden around 3:30 p.m.

Rene Ogden, son Chase and daughter Olivia died of gunshot wounds to the head, the coroner said.

The children’s deaths are the 20th and 21st homicides in Colorado Springs this year.

Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Noblitt said the children’s deaths are still under investigation but provided no information on whether a suspect is being sought, if anyone else had been in the house or if more than one weapon was used.

An officer guarding the home Tuesday said there was no sign of a break-in.

Police offered no explanation for the apparent murder-suicide. Neighbors said the son was autistic, although none said they socialized much with the family or knew them well.

Rene Ogden spent a lot of her time on the Internet, corresponding with people through Facebook and playing games on the social networking site, according to people she befriended online.

One of those, Brad Ake, who lives in Texas where Rene Ogden attended high school, said the two often talked about birth defects and raising children with developmental disabilities. Ake’s daughter had severe birth defects and died very young.

Ake and others who chatted with her, said she loved her children, but that she talked about struggling with depression and loneliness.

“She was very sad most of the time,” Ake said in an interview with The Gazette on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, flowers and other mementos were placed at the doorway of the rented home in the neighborhood near Constitution Avenue and Academy Boulevard. Tommy Ogden, who had been questioned by police about the deaths, went inside briefly, then left, a neighbor across the street said.

The family moved to Colorado Springs while her husband was in the Army. Tommy Ogden had served at least one combat tour in Iraq with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, a former Fort Carson unit now based at Fort Hood, Texas.

In happier times, Rene Ogden had posted the following on

“About My Personal Life I have been living it up from Hawaii to Colorado with my wonderful husband and kids! We have been married since July of 1996. His name is Tom Ogden, who is now 36, and he has been in the Army for 19 years. We married in Hawaii in July of 1996, where we lived for two more years and then moved here to Colorado Springs in May of 1998. We may end up back in the Golden Triangle Area (in Texas) eventually. It looks like that is where my husband’s job is considering transferring him to. Although right now he is serving one year in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom. We have a beautiful set of twins ... Chase Garrett and Olivia Brianna who were born in 1997.”

The children attended Colorado Springs School District 11’s Galileo School of Math and Science on Union Boulevard, where a short assembly was held Tuesday to inform students about the tragedy and to let them know counselors were available for them.

Thursday, a sixth-grade classmate of the twins, accompanied by his mother, Carla Garcia, drove up to the Essex Lane house.

The were staring at the house when they were told about the autopsy results.

“With the wife being here with the autistic kid and the husband deployed, that’s hard on a mother,” Garcia said. “Everybody’s upset about it. There were kids involved. They didn’t do anything to anybody.”

Garcia, who lives near Constitution Avenue and Union Boulevard, said residents in the area also had been worried about their own safety during the past three days.

“We thought there was a killer on the loose,” she said.