California boy Jacob Knauf, 2, was found alone and shaking inside his home four days after his parents’ apparent murder-suicide. Daniel Knauf, 27, was a discharged United States Marine and the toddler’s father. The elder Knauf reportedly killed his wife and Jacob’s mother, Bianca, 23, and then his own mother, before turning the gun on himself. His mother was a special needs schoolteacher in New York, and was California visiting for the holidays.
The California murder-suicide occurred inside Daniel Knauf’s apartment in Palm Springs. Jacob Knauf was wearing a deeply soiled diaper and “smelled of bodies,” when family members came to check on the relatives they had not heard from on January 4. The body of Daniel’s mother, Sally Knauf, was also found inside the California home.
Bianca Knauf’s sister, Diana Benitz, said Jacob Knauf’s hands were shaking, and he had blisters due to the extremely soiled diaper.
“He thinks his mom’s asleep,” Benitez told local KESQ News.
Daniel Knauf joined the Marine Corps in 2008 and was discharged in 2009, according to military records shared by the Daily Mail. The man’s recent purchase of guns reportedly ignited an argument in the family, grieving loved ones told Palm Springs police officers.
“I would tell my daughter, ‘I don’t like that’ [guns] and that’s how we ended up here,” Lourdes Benitez, Bianca Knauf’s mother, said. The last time she talked to her daughter was on New Year’s Eve. “My daughter was my mind, my everything. I don’t know how to start over,” the grief-stricken mother added.
— Brett Kelman (@TDSbrettkelman) January 9, 2015
Palm Springs police believe that Daniel Knauf killed his mother, wife, and then himself on New Year’s Day. After four days without a phone call or a text message, Bianca Knauf’s mother went to check on the family. When no one answered the door at their apartment, the worried mom peeked through the window and saw Jacob Knauf sleeping. She pecked on the glass until she woke him and got him to open the door.
“I went outside and I just burst into tears,” Diana Benitz said. “Our focus is Jacob, who is too young to understand how much his life has changed.”
“She boasted about seeing the grandchild and being so happy that she was now able to spend time with her grandson,” Marion Whitfield, the principal at Sally Knauf’s school, said.
— Allison Norlian (@AllisonNorlian) January 6, 2015
The Palms Springs police are still investigating the possible motive in the murder-suicide.
What do you think about the Palm Springs murder-suicide that left Jacob Knauf an orphan?