On Monday, 41-year-old Celisa Henning and her 5-year-old twin daughters, Makayla and Addison, were found dead in the bathroom of their Joliet, Illinois home. The trio was reportedly discovered by Steve Henning, the husband of Celisa and father of her children. Initially, Joliet police were very tight-lipped about what was found in the home, not even publicly commenting on what caused the deaths of the mother and her two young children aside from calling the situation an apparent murder-suicide.
On Tuesday, an autopsy was conducted on Celisa Henning and her twin daughters by the Will County coroner’s officer, and The ChicagoTribune is now reporting that all three were killed by gunshots to their heads. According to the preliminary autopsy report, both 5-year-old girls suffered multiple gunshot wounds to their heads while Celisa Henning was killed by a single shot.
While the police continue to investigate the deaths as a murder-suicide, friends, family, and neighbors of the Henning family are struggling to come to terms with the horrific situation. Five-year-old twins Makayla and Addison had reportedly just begun their first school year as kindergarten students at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Joliet. The school is said to be providing counseling services children and faculty impacted by the murder-suicide.
“Our heart aches for those affected by this tragedy and our prayers go out to them.”
According to Dennis Henning, the father of Celisa Henning’s husband and grandfather to her twins, his son had tried to contact his wife of 10 years multiple times throughout the day on Monday, but she didn’t answer the telephone. When he arrived home from work at roughly 3:30 p.m., he found his wife and daughters shot to death in a bathroom of his home. Speaking to a local news outlet, Dennis Henning called the murder-suicide “a tragedy” and expressed concern for his son’s mental well-being following the death of his wife and the murder of his girls.
“I hope and pray to God that he can live through it.”
Dennis Henning also had a few things to say about his daughter-in-law, Celisa. He claims that she had been “suffering from health issues,” adding that she was also “disturbed.”
“She was a troubled girl.”
The health issues referred to by Dennis Henning may have stemmed from a 2015 car accident in which Celisa Henning was apparently severely injured. According to a civil lawsuit she filed just this month, Celisa had been rear-ended in the wreck, resulting in a lower back injury. She was seeking over $100,000 in damages and was due to appear in court on November 29.
“As a consequence thereof, Celisa K. Henning, has suffered and will continue to suffer great pain and mental anguish.”
While Celisa Henning’s father-in-law has referred to her as disturbed, neighbors of the family have a different take on the 41-year-old mother implicated in Monday’s horrific murder-suicide. According to Joan Paul, Celisa was an “excellent mother.”
“If she did this, I can’t imagine the terror in her heart. Those kids were her life. She was an excellent mother.”
Since the news broke Monday afternoon that the Henning family had been shattered by an apparent murder-suicide, a memorial of three crosses was placed in the family’s yard. The memorial has since grown to include flowers and other gifts contributed by grieving neighbors and friends struggling to come to terms with the idea that Celisa Henning allegedly ended not just her own life, but the lives of her daughter, as well, in Monday’s tragic murder-suicide.
[Featured Image by Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock]