A MAN is accused of fatally shooting his mother-in-law and ex-wife before turning the gun on himself in a gruesome murder-suicide possibly prompted by stress from ongoing divorce battles.
The two children of Daniel Dewitt, 32, and Amanda Dewitt, 31, are now orphans after Daniel allegedly killed Amanda and her mother Debra Allen, 61, on Wednesday in Arkansas.
Authorities responded to the home at 7109 Forest Dale Drive at around 9:50pm after they received a call from a screaming woman, during which a man was also heard shouting in the background.
“She can be heard screaming on the phone and the male subject can also be heard screaming," Pulaski County Sheriff's Office Lt Robert Garrett told Arkansas Online.
But by the time cops arrived at the home in Little Rock, they found the dead bodies of Daniel and Amanda DeWitt outside, he said.
Garrett believes that the divorce decision may have been the "catalyst" that prompted Daniel DeWitt's violence, but detectives say they don't know know his exact motives or train of thought.
Officers grimly discovered the body of Amanda's mom, Deborah, inside the home.
The horrific killing took place just two days after a judge granted the former couple a divorce and gave Amanda sole custody of their kids.
According to Garrett, the couple's two children – ages nine and two – were home during the shooting and neighbors claim to have witnessed the murder-suicide.
He confirmed that there were incidents at the DeWitt home – but none were violent.
"We don’t know what changed between then and what happened [Wednesday] night," Garrett said.
A neighbor told the news outlet that there's been "a lot of s**t" going on at and around their home recently.
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the double murder-suicide.
Court records obtained by Arkansas Online revealed Daniel filed for divorce on April 7, citing constant fighting and being blamed for poor living conditions because he was no longer the household breadwinner.
On September 11, Amanda and Daniel were granted temporary joint legal custody, with no child support obligation for the dad, according to the orderr.
Amanda filed for an order of protection against Daniel on July 8, alleging "26 incidents of harassment, failure to exchange possession of the children according to custody rulings, taking his children from her possession without her knowledge and an alleged attempted break-in," according to court docs.
But she dropped the request three weeks later because she said Daniel hadn't been abusive and believed her request would be rejected.
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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