Family died at mother’s hand — (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD)

Original article  no longer available


By Kevin Cole, Staff Writer

Published Monday February 28, 2011 

WAHOO, Neb. ­ Toni Hindman bought a 6-inch hunting knife just one day before using it to take the lives of her husband, their 12-year-old daughter and herself.

Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff said Monday that the 45-year-old woman began researching the topics of depression medication and suicide on the Internet a day earlier. The morning of Feb. 20, the three bodies were discovered when firefighters were called to the Hindman residence in rural Ithaca, Neb.

“We know she bought the knife and made those computer searches. Those two pieces of information were crucial in helping us piece this (incident) together,” Tingelhoff said. “We do not know why she did it, and we will probably never know why she did it.”

Several relatives contacted Monday declined to comment on the results of the investigation.

Tingelhoff said relatives knew that Toni Hindman, who had a bachelors degree in psychology, had been struggling with depression. Family members told investigators that the death of the Hindmans’ 3-year-old daughter, Jessica, in 2005, had been tough on the family. Jessica died of cancer.

“The family talked about her fight with depression but still, they were shocked by this outcome,” Tingelhoff said.   Investigators found Tim Hindman, 47, dead in his first-floor bedroom and Ardena Hindaman dead in her upstairs bedroom. Both were dressed in night clothes.

Toni Hindman and the hunting knife used in the killings were found in the living room. Tingelhoff said Toni Hindman started a fire in the stairwell leading to the upstairs before taking her own life.

Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz said investigators determined early on that Toni Hindman had taken her own life. Whether she killed her husband or daughter first is not known.

“A review of the evidence at the scene pointed directly to self-inflicted wounds on Toni,” Stukenholtz said. “We know that Toni was the last one to die.”

Mark Sloup, an investigator with the Nebraska Fire Marshal’s Office, said he is awaiting test results for the type of accelerant used to start the fire.

Tingelhoff said the tragedy had been an “horrific experience” for people in Saunders County.

“It’s an extremely tragic any time you deal with the loss of a child,” he said. “It’s been tough on everybody.”

Contact the writer:  402-444-1272,

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