Deputies: Upstate woman who killed children wanted to create 'ev - KPTV - FOX 12

Deputies: Upstate woman who killed children wanted to create 'everlasting consequences' for husband

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Hayden King and Harper Edens (Photo provided) Hayden King and Harper Edens (Photo provided)
Jessica Edens (photo provided) Jessica Edens (photo provided)
Authorities on North Main Street after shooting. (July 13, 2017/FOX Carolina) Authorities on North Main Street after shooting. (July 13, 2017/FOX Carolina)
PICKENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Deputies said after killing her two children and before taking her own life, 36-year-old Jessica Edens placed a final phone call to her estranged husband.

Edens was found deceased with 5-year-old daughter Harper Edens and 9-year-old son Hayden King in a Jeep at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway on July 13. The coroner said all three suffered gunshot wounds.

On July 24, the Pickens County Sheriff's Office said they were closing their investigation, officially ruling the woman and children's deaths a murder-suicide.

Deputies said Edens went to her parent's home while they were out of town the day before the massacre and stole a .40 caliber handgun.

The firearm is believed to be the same gun used to kill 28-year-old Meredith Leigh Rahme, who was found shot to death in the parking garage of her Main and Stone apartment in downtown Greenville shortly before the three bodies were found at the speedway.

Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller named Edens a suspect in Rahme's slaying and said Rahme was acquaintances with Edens' husband, who also lived at Main and Stone. The couple was embroiled in a custody battle, Miller said.

Audio released on Monday from 911 calls revealed Rahme contacted police in the weeks before she was killed and asked to speak with an officer regarding a restraining order.

“There is someone who is angry with me who is contacting everyone I know and work with and reporting these hateful messages about me,” Rahme told dispatchers.

Edens' husband also called 911 on the night before the murders to request a welfare check at Edens' residence on Creekside Way, although police said they did not find any cause for alarm. He had previously called 911 to report threatening, harassing texts and phone calls as well.

A multi-agency search for Edens was initiated after Rahme's body was found, but ended tragically when the grisly discovery was made at the speedway.

After reviewing phone records, Pickens County investigators said Edens was distraught following court proceedings the week of the shootings. Investigators said text messages indicated Edens "developed a plan" that would "cause everlasting consequences" for her estranged husband.

Deputies confirmed Edens left the parking garage where Rahme was shot moments before her body was found.

After traveling to Pickens County, investigators believe Edens shot Harper and Hayden while they were seated in the rear cargo area of her black Jeep Patriot. There were no signs of a struggle.

After killing the children, deputies said Edens placed a last phone call to her husband, who was in the presence of Greenville police. A timeline events released by the police department indicates Edens said, "Everyone you love is gone. Do you hear me? I'm about to be gone too."

When her husband tried to return the call, it went straight to voicemail. She then took her own life in the back seat of the SUV, which was found locked and running when authorities arrived on scene.

Deputies had to use a baton to break the driver's side window in what they called a heartbreaking investigation. Chief Deputy Creed Hashe described the scene as "graphic and horrific."

Three notes were found in the vehicle including a Last Will and Testament written by Edens, deputies said. One of the notes was addressed to Edens family, in which she apologized "for the pain I am causing all of you."

"I know what I have done is selfish, but I cannot live with this pain any longer," Edens wrote. "It hurts too much."

Edens also addressed her estranged husband in the letter and said she wanted him to live with the consequences she felt he deserved.

"You can no longer hurt us," Edens wrote. "We are at peace. I hope you live with pain and shame and guilt for the rest of your life."

In the aftermath of the shooting, Sheriff Rick Clark asked for support from the community for the many lives impacted by the murder-suicide.

"This is going to touch a lot of families," Clark said. "We ask for prayers and support... It's just a tragedy that's senseless and really hard to understand."

After the official ruling in the investigation, Clark urged anyone with the impulse to take their own life or the life of a loved one to reach out to law enforcement for help. Read his full statement on the case below:

As we struggle to understand how a parent could possibly come to a decision such as this, we have to focus on tomorrow and the opportunity to provide services and solutions to those that feel that their life and the lives of their loved ones must end in order to find peace.

We live in a stressful world during difficult times but there are resources that stand ready to offer help and assist you if you feel that you have no other options left in life.

Please reach out to law enforcement so that we can be the bridge to lead you to a road of recovery. In time, you will see that all things come to pass and you too can become a stronger person with hope and faith in a brighter future.

All of us need a helping hand from time to time as we walk through life and asking for help is not a sign of weakness that any of us should be ashamed of.


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