Who is Molly Cheng? Mom drowns herself and 3 children in Vadnais Lake after husband shot himself
Trigger Warning: This article discusses suicide, which some people might find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised
VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn: The bodies of three young children, all under the age of 6, and their tattoo-artist mother were pulled out of Vadnais Lake in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota on Saturday in a family tragedy that unfolded after the woman's husband apparently committed suicide, authorities said.
While authorities did not release their identities or comment on the exact manner of death, family and friends of the deceased reportedly told Daily Mail that the mother was Molly Cheng, a 23-year-old local tattoo and beauty artist.
Searchers pulled the first of four bodies from Vadnais Lake in Vadnais Heights on Friday night, and the other three on Saturday morning. “Our hearts go out to the families involved here and their friends,” Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin said. “Our goal was to find the children and the mother and to return them to their families, and we’re glad we were able to do that.”
The husband has been named as Kos Lee by his sister, Pa Lee, who shared news of her siblings’ tragic death on Facebook.
How the tragedy unfolded
According to many unconfirmed reports, the marriage between Kos Lee and Molly Cheng had its fair share of problems. However, on July 1 morning, things got out of hand when during an argument, Lee threatened to kill himself in front of his wife and children. And soon he shot himself in the doorway of their bedroom with one of the two guns found on the premises later by police.
When the police arrived, Molly’s father was advised to take the young children with him, but at the last moment, Molly insisted on keeping them with her. Later, a social worker visited them and spent a few hours with them in the house. According to the police, there was at least one relative in the home with Molly when the social worker left.
Later in the afternoon, Lee's family members went live on Facebook about the tragedy and allegedly blamed Molly for his death, according to reports.
Molly was 'suicidal'
A depressed Molly called one of her uncles and said she couldn’t take it anymore. Authorities were soon informed and a search was launched. Police said Molly's cellphone led them to Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park, where they found her abandoned car and other items, including childrens’ shoes, around 4 p.m. That prompted police and firefighters to set up a command post for a search-and-rescue operation in Vadnais Lake.
The first body was found around 7:30 pm Friday; the search continued into the evening until about 3 am and resumed three hours later on Saturday morning. The two boys were the first pulled from the lake, then the mother, then the girl. By 11 am, all four had been retrieved from the water.
The lake is fairly shallow, with depths between 5 to 10 feet deep, said Ramsey County Water Patrol Commander Eric Bradt. He said the search was also emotionally difficult. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. This was one of the more difficult ones.”
Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin said boats with sonar capabilities helped locate the bodies on the lake’s eastern side, but the search was done visually, as well. “Basically, in the end, it’s identifying possible objects of interest and sending divers in [who] physically search and locate the victims,” he said.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741)