Depressed Colorado Mom Drugged Her Two Sons With Painkillers, Killed Them, And Turned Gun On Self

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A Colorado mother drugged her two children with narcotic painkillers and killed them, before turning the gun on herself.

According to the Daily Mail, Jennifer Marie Laber, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and her two sons, Ethan, 5, and Adam, 3, were both shot in the neck. Their bodies were discovered in a minivan and it was deemed a murder-suicide.

The Douglas County Coroner’s Office revealed the official causes of death on Friday. Autopsies performed on both boys showed that they had oxycodone and oxymorphone in their blood. The coroner also recorded traces of Diphenhydramine in their system. These painkillers all cause drowsiness. Their 38-year-old mother recorded traces of anti-depressants like bupropion and desmethylvenlafaxine. Lamotrigine was also found in her system, a medication used for seizures and bipolar disorder.

Jennifer Marie Laber bought a 9mm Glock handgun, hours before shooting her sons and turning it on herself. The 38-year-old legally purchased the handgun by passing the mandatory background check less than an hour before picking up her children from school.


Unlike a handful of states, Colorado does not require a compulsory waiting period before a gun is purchased and transferred to the owner. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, and the District of Colombia have wait times for all gun buys. New Jersey and Florida have fixed wait times, especially for handguns.

Laber vanished with her kids after pulling out her 5-year-old early from his kindergarten class. Her husband did not report them missing until later that night. The missing person’s alert bulletin issued comprised of photographs of the trio and a description of the 2011 Chrysler minivan Laber was driving.

A CCTV camera captured the mother with her two sons leaving the school premises. One of the children was carrying a backpack, the younger one behind him, wearing a blue and black coat. Officers had insisted an amber alert was premature because there were no pointers that the children were at risk while in their mother’s care. The next day, a passerby alerted police that a minivan was parked outside an abandoned store. The vehicle matched the description of the missing vehicle and officers found the bodies of the trio inside.

When Adam’s body was taken to the coroner’s office, it came in with an open bag of gummy bear candies, according to the Denver Post. The horrific deaths shocked neighbors. Phyliss Dubas described 38-year-old Jennifer as a loving mother who went everywhere with her children.


“Her little boys were full of excitement. She was with the children all the time. It’s so very, very sad.”

Brandon Tartler, a friend and neighbor revealed “none of us saw this coming, not even her husband.” However, at a candlelight vigil, Ryan Laber told those who attended that his wife had battled deep depression for years.

“My wife and I had an immense love for our boys. She had a sickness. We learned to cope and manage, but depression is a disease.”

According to him, his wife had left a note shortly before she died, talking about her depressive state and that despite losing 80 pounds she still felt uncomfortable with her body. In a Facebook post, he admitted that his wife’s depressive state had always revolved around low self esteem and never harming anyone.


“It’s first critical to know Jennifer Krannich Laber had a deep depressed episode. We don’t know what triggered it, nor did any of those close to her see it coming. From her history, previous episodes involved very low self esteem, no recognition of consequences to self harm, and a strong desire to escape… depression is coercive and often operates in silence. There is no fault to lay blame.”

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