By Edith Brady-Lunny
May 07, 2009 12:00 am
LeROY — Michael Connolly gave one son a lethal dose of psychiatric medication and fatally stabbed the other before hanging himself in March in a remote area near Hennepin, the Putnam County death investigator announced Wednesday night. Duncan Leichtenberg, 9, and Jack Leichtenberg, 7, both of LeRoy, were found in the back seat of their father’s car March 29, about 60 yards from where their father, Michael Connolly, 40, of Bloomington, hanged himself, authorities said previously.
Jack died from a stab wound in the back, according to a statement issued by Robert Cofoid. The wound damaged the right lung and “caused a large amount of internal bleeding into the right chest cavity,” Cofoid said.
While the stab wound was the cause of death, toxicology tests determined the boy had excessive levels of alprazolam, a prescription anti-anxiety medication marketed under the brand name Xanax, in his system, Cofoid said. That was called “a significant contributing factor” by Cofoid.
Duncan died of an overdose of alprazolam and quetiapine, a prescription drug marketed as Seroquel and used to treated mental conditions ranging from insomnia and anxiety to schizophrenia, Cofoid said.
Prescription medication bottles were found at the scene, authorities said previously. Connolly had been under treatment for depression, they said.
The boys’ deaths were ruled homicides, and Connolly’s was deemed a suicide, Cofoid said.
The children were reported missing March 8 after their father failed to return them to their mother, Amy Leichtenberg of LeRoy, after an unsupervised weekend visit. A nationwide Amber Alert was issued the following day and a task force of federal, county, and state law enforcement agencies supervised by the McLean County Sheriff’s Department worked on the case.
The car containing the bodies was found on a wooded lot by Jon Henn, a Seatonville man who was checking on his uncle’s property near where Connolly’s car was parked. Henn told police he had seen the car two weeks earlier but did not investigate until he later noticed the vehicle covered with snow.
The murder-suicide case involving the father and sons has ignited heated debate on at least two issues related to divorce and child custody issues. Amy Leichtenberg has publicly criticized McLean County Judge James Souk’s decision to allow her ex-husband unsupervised visits with the children starting in November.
A pending order of protection against Connolly prohibited him from having contact with Leichtenberg and required him to pick up and return the children through a family friend.
Leichtenberg’s family and friends also questioned the 26-hour delay in getting an Amber Alert issued for the children. The first Amber Alert request made March 8 by LeRoy police was denied because it failed to meet all requirements, including a statement that the children could be in danger.
In a second Amber Alert application filed by McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery March 9, police were made aware of details of Connolly’s background, including past threats Connolly made to “pay the mother back” for leaving him.
Connolly was facing increasing financial pressures after the loss of his job as a pharmaceutical company representative and had a history of depression.
A search of Connolly’s Bloomington apartment by police turned up no evidence that he intended to return to his residence, according to Emery. Connolly left behind his glasses, computer and other possessions and no children’s clothing or toys were in the home, he said.