kansas and Wendy Lavarnia

Phoenix Parents Shoot Son, 9, And Blame The Murder On Their Toddler, Police Say

Arizona parents Kansas and Wendy Lavarnia murdered their 9-year-old son, Landen Lavarnia, and then blamed the shooting on their 2-year-old toddler, Phoenix police say. The mother told law enforcement investigators her toddler found a gun left on the bed and accidentally shot his brother.

Wendy and Kansas Lavarnia delayed giving their 9-year-old son emergency medical care, instead opting to clean up the crime scene, according to allegations raised in the police report. Multiple rooms inside of the home may have been cleaned before the police arrived.

Investigators did not state whether or not the little boy could have survived if his parents had called 911 for help sooner. The probable cause statement filed in relation to the case stated there was a lack of visible blood at the crime scene, and a substantial amount of time had passed before the authorities were alerted about the shooting.

“We have a 9-year-old critically wounded, shot in the head, in dire need of lifesaving efforts and care, which was delayed and not provided to this young man,” Phoenix police Sergeant Vince Lewis said. “It definitely shocks your conscience.”

Doubting the validity of the supposedly grieving mother’s story, the Phoenix police launched a full-scale investigation into Landen Lavarnia’s death. The officers reportedly grew suspicious with the story told by the 28-year-old mother after they unearthed multiple inconsistencies in how the shooting allegedly unfolded. After giving her accounting of what had caused the death of her 9-year-old son, Wendy’s ex-convict husband showed up with a homemade bandage over a gunshot wound on his upper arm, Arizona Central reports.

Kansas Lavarnia’s arm wound appeared to have been punctured multiple times, perhaps with a screwdriver, in an attempt to hide the true cause of the injury, police investigators believe. Evidence of a presence of blood was reportedly found inside the vehicle the father had driven back to his residence. Kansas did not return home until three hours after the law enforcement officers had launched their investigation into the shooting death of his son.

Kansas Lavarnia has been charged with child abuse, first-degree murder, and hindering prosecution of a crime. Wendy Lavarnia faces a charge of first-degree murder. the Daily Mail reports. Both parents of the fatal shooting victim are being held in lieu of a $1 million bond which was levied against each murder defendant.

Neighbors to the Lavarnia family claimed the young children would sometimes be seen running around outside in only a diaper. Maria Mosley, one of the neighbors, told local reporter Kansas and Wendy Lavarnia “always yelled and cussed” at their children.

In addition to the toddler, there were two more children in the family. All three surviving children have now been removed from the home and placed in the care of the state child welfare system. The local child services agency had launched an investigation into the family two times in the past because two of the children were born with the presence of a “substance” in their systems.

Landen Lavarnia was in the hospital dying while his mother had her first court appearance in the case. Wendy Lavarnia asked the judge to permit her to leave jail without posting a bond to go be with the boy. The judge tasked with hearing the case declined her request.

When Kansas Lavarnia appeared in the courtroom to hear the charges levied against him, he refused to answer any questions beyond giving his name and date of birth. Initially, the ex-convict was arrested on weapons misconduct charges. Because he was convicted on three charges of theft and possession of burglary tools in 2009, he was banned from having a firearm in his home.

Lavarnia blamed his past criminal activity on an addiction to painkillers. According to court records, the accused child killer said he first began taking pain medications after he broke his back in an ATV accident when he was a young teenager. Kansas previously told the court he was sober from 18 to 21 but then once again began using painkillers. When the prescription drugs became too costly, Lavarnia said he turned to less expensive illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. He finished his 3-year prison sentence in 2012.

[Featured Image by Marek H./Shutterstock]

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