Shanna Vandewege had tried for years to get pregnant and was finally able to able to welcome a son Diederick this fall — but their lives were cut violently short last week when police found both the mom and infant son dead with their throats cut.
The mystery of Shanna Vandewege’s murder has deepened in the days since she was found dead in the Fort Worth, Texas, home where the family had moved in May. Family members said they could not understand why anyone would want to kill the 36-year-old woman, who had waited for years to start a family, or why 3-month-old Diederik Vandewege would also be a target.
“They tried so long to have a baby,” her father, Mark Riddle, told ABC8. “She had three miscarriages prior to having one.”
Friends said that Shanna Vandewege had dreamed about having children since she was a child.
“She had wanted a family since she was a little girl. She planned it out, including names, before she was 12,” childhood friend Monica Vance told People magazine.
But those close to Shanna Vandewege hinted that she might have been going through a difficult patch.
“No matter what she was going through, [Shanna] was happy, she stayed positive [and] never let anyone get her down,” longtime friend Cindy Prevatt told People magazine. “She loved, she cared. She was just so sweet.”
Shanna’s husband, Craig Vandewege, said he found his wife and son dead in their beds when he returned home from work. Both deaths were ruled homicides.
A Texas mom & her 3-month-old baby are found murdered with their throats slit. The hunt for their killer. https://t.co/vVDxAbABrJ— Primetime Justice (@PTJusticeHLN) December 20, 2016
Police have not named a suspect, though the Star-Telegram reported that police used a search warrant to go through the family’s home a second time. It was not known what evidence they may have collected.
Police have also tried to interview Craig Vandewege, but he told investigators that he would like to speak with an attorney first and reportedly hasn’t been in touch with police since then. Investigators hinted that his inaction could be stalling the murder investigation.
“It’s standard and it’s normal for us to try to exclude people close before we can move on and look elsewhere,” Fort Worth homicide Detective Matt Barron told WFAA. “It stalls our investigation if there’s somebody that close that says flat out, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’ “
The details of Shanna Vandewege’s murder appeared gruesome. The Dallas News noted that a medical examiner determined that both she and Diederik Vandewege died of stab wounds to the neck.
“The medical examiner determined that each of them died from an ‘incised wound’ to the neck, meaning it was caused by a sharp instrument like a knife.”
Neighbors said they were shocked to learn about such violence in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. The family had lived there for about half of the year, with Craig Vandewege moving there after receiving a promotion in his job at COSTCO. Shanna, who worked as a registered nurse, joined him later.
Mom, baby found dead in north Fort Worth home. https://t.co/nppWo7rUDH— Star-Telegram (@startelegram) December 16, 2016
The murder of Shanna Vandewege — along with her heartbreaking story of waiting years to start a family — has become national news in the days since police first found the woman’s body. The gruesome nature of the killing along with the cloud of mystery surrounding the motive and Craig Vandewege’s reluctance to speak with investigators has been picked up by a number of national outlets.
Detectives said they still hope that Craig Vandewege can come in for an interview so that the investigation into Shanna Vendewege’s murder can move forward.
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