After Husband's Suicide, She Drowned 3 Kids and Herself

Her father offered to care for the children, but Molly Cheng refused: relative
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2022 1:19 PM CDT
Relative Offered to Take Kids Before Mom Drowned Them
Friends and family gathered at Lake Vadnais, in Vadnais Heights, Minn., on Friday after news of a dead child being pulled out of the lake broke.   (Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP)

After her husband committed suicide, a Minnesota mother decided her only path was a triple murder-suicide that left herself and her three children dead along with him, according to police. Molly Cheng, 23, called 911 around 10:30am Friday to report the death of husband Yee Lee, 27, who was found to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, per NBC News. About five hours later, a relative called 911 "stating that Molly was going to kill her children and herself," police say, per People. As she drove from her Maplewood home, Cheng reportedly made concerning comments in a phone call with a friend, who alerted family, reports the Sahan Journal.

Cheng's vehicle was soon found near Lake Vadnais, not far from the family's home, amid signs that the mother, her two sons, and daughter had entered the water. The first body was retrieved from the lake by 7:30pm. By the next morning, all four bodies had been recovered. On Tuesday, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office announced Cheng and the children—Quadrillion T. Lee, 4; Phoenix Lee, 5; and Estella Zoo Siab Lee, 3—had drowned. The youngest two children had also been smothered, according to a medical examiner, who ruled Cheng's death to be a suicide, per NBC. The sheriff's office says it's continuing to investigate "to provide clarity and closure to the surviving family members."

Among them is Chong Lue Lee, 60. "I wish this never happened to them," he told the Journal of his paternal grandchildren on Tuesday. He said extended family members had agreed for Cheng's father to take the children on Friday night, but Cheng was adamant that the children stay with her. Lee added he was unaware of any mental health issues with either his son and his wife—who were born in Thailand and grew up in an unofficial refugee camp for displaced Hmong before leaving in the early 2000s and eventually meeting in the Twin Cities—though "there were things happening" in their relationship. He didn't elaborate and urged onlookers not to rush to judgment. (If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)

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