Derek Thebo: Michigan dad kills son, 3, and himself amid bitter divorce
LOWELL, MICHIGAN: An ex-Michigan corrections officer, Derek Thebo, 32, allegedly shot his 3-year-old son before killing himself. The incident took place last Wednesday, September 1. A few months prior to the incident, Thebo made threats of a murder-suicide against his estranged wife.
According to police, Thebo fatally shot his son Dylan, 3, and then turned the gun on himself in a home in Lowell, just outside Grand Rapids. Police discovered their bodies after they were called to carry out a welfare check. A similar incident was reported last month when an Iowa dad, Christopher Phelon first fatally shot his two sons, Logan, 6, and Seth, 3, before turning the gun on himself. In May last year, Laurent F, 55, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his two children as he wanted to get revenge on their mother.
Reportedly, six months earlier, Thebo’s estranged wife and Dylan's mother, Katie Thebo had reported his threats of a murder-suicide. In court documents seeking a protective order, Katie noted that she’d told police her estranged husband had 'promised to carry out acts of violence'. "He threatened to kill me, my children, and my family, and to commit suicide afterwards. He rattled off the names of my family members and said he knew where they worked, he knew when they were home, and that he could get to them and hurt them, " she wrote.
Derek and Katie were in the process of getting a divorce and were indulged in a custody battle over their son Dylan at the same time. Katie also has a daughter from a previous relationship. Katie wrote in the court documents, "He [Derek] specifically mentioned that he would ‘save her [my daughter] for last’". Katie also claimed in the documents that she received a gift for Mother's Day which included a chilling message. The message on the gift read: 'You will be my last', she said. The order of protection was granted on March 8. However, it was terminated on March 22 when the estranged couple reached an agreement for a mutual restraining order. Details of the restraining order were not immediately clear.
According to the court records, Derek worked as a corrections officer in Michigan. He was fired in 2019, after which, he worked as a security officer at a hospital when the protective order was filed in March. It is not clear if he was still employed at the hospital until last week. In a GoFundMe set up by Katie to cover her son, Dylan's funeral costs, she described him as an "amazing kiddo who was full of energy." She wrote, "Dylan loved Paw Patrol, excavators, cars and trucks, and singing and dancing. Most of all Dylan loved his momma and big sister. We are all absolutely devastated and there are no words to describe how much Dylan will be missed by all who knew him." The campaign has raised $26,335 of its $20,000 goal.