Police call deaths of Winnipeg mother, children a murder-suicide — (Canadian Press)

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By:  The Canadian Press

Published on Thu Oct 03 2013

Lisa Gibson killed her son and daughter before committing suicide, police say.

WINNIPEG—Winnipeg police confirmed Thursday that Lisa Gibson, a pharmacist who reportedly suffered from postpartum depression, killed her young daughter and infant son before taking her own life.

It was the first time that police officially ruled out another killer in the July deaths that shocked a quiet suburban area of the Manitoba capital.

“This is in fact a homicide-suicide incident . . . and really, I can’t get into any further details than that,” Const. Jason Michalyshen said.

Michalyshen acknowledged there are many unanswered questions about what happened to 2-year-old Anna and her infant brother Nicholas. Police have remained tight-lipped on the case.

So far, they have only said that someone — they won’t say who — called police on the morning of the killings and asked them to check on the kids. Gibson disappeared at some point. Her body was found three days later in the Red River.

Michalyshen confirmed the children’s deaths were “consistent” with drowning, but would not go any further. The head of city’s firefighters’ union had earlier said the kids were found unresponsive in the bathtub.

It remains unclear how long it took first responders to find the children in the tub, and whether a relative found them first. Michalyshen said an internal “assessment” is underway, but its findings would not likely be made public.

“Senior members are in the process of putting this assessment together and trying to determine how things played out.”

Media reports have said Gibson suffered from postpartum depression, and there have been calls for an inquest to examine what kind of health care she may have received following the birth of her son in the spring.

The office of Manitoba’s chief medical examiner has said it will be late fall before there’s a decision on whether to call a provincial inquest, which would include sworn testimony from medical experts and others in open court.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial in August for Gibson, who was 32 at the time of her death, and her two children.

 

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How the tragedy of Lisa Gibson unfolded— (Winnipeg Free Press)

April

Lisa Gibson gives birth to a baby boy, Nicholas, a brother for her two-year-old girl, Anna.

 

Mid-June

The last posting on Lisa Gibson’s Facebook account is a photograph of Anna with the caption reading: “Man, I love this kid.”

This summer:

Lisa Gibson shows signs of strain, and she’s never seen alone with her baby and toddler at their home.

“She was always with an older woman, The baby would be right beside her and the little girl would be running round, neighbour Rosie Olivera says.

“She’d just be staring at you… I’d be at the stop sign and she’d be staring at me. I thought it was kind of weird.”

July 24, 8 a.m.:

Police rush to 3 Coleridge Park Dr., the Westwood home of the Gibson family, for a “well-being call” after a 911 hang-up call.

Shortly after arriving at the home, police discover Anna and Nicholas in the bathtub. They aren’t breathing.

They are transported to hospital in critical condition and could not be revived.

Morning and afternoon of July 24:

Up to 20 police units, including the K-9 unit, members of the fire department and neighbours search a nearby park and the banks of the Assiniboine River for Lisa Gibson, the children’s mother.

“I was out searching for her,” said neighbour Ryan Pittner Wednesday. “We’re all rattled as parents, as human beings… but that’s irrelevant.”

“The real issue is, there are two little kids who aren’t here anymore.”

July 25:

The search for Lisa Gibson continues, including the use of police divers in the Assiniboine River, without any success. On the same day, a relative confirms Lisa Gibson received treatment for postpartum depression. Meanwhile, a memorial of teddy bears is set up outside the Gibson home by those wishing to pay tribute to the two children killed the previous day.

July 26:

The search for Lisa Gibson continues. There is no trace of her.

July 27:

In the Winnipeg Free Press weekend edition, Nicole Gamble, a nurse who started a postpartum depression support group, shares with readers how difficult her life became when she faced the disorder.

“Being a nurse, I thought I would be immune to postpartum depression because I knew the warning signs,” Gamble said. “But it doesn’t matter how prepared you are or how well-educated you are, postpartum depression doesn’t discriminate. No one chooses PPD, it chooses you.”

July 27, 9:30 a.m.:

The police water-rescue team and identification unit pull a body from the Red River, near the Alexander Docks in Stephen Juba Park, after it was discovered by a group of paddlers during a Saturday morning event.

July 28, 11 a.m.:

Winnipeg police confirm the body pulled from the Red River Saturday is that of Lisa Gibson. An autopsy was conducted but no details were released.

The homicide unit is heading the investigation into the deaths of Lisa, Anna and Nicholas Gibson, a police spokesman said.

“It has been speculated that Ms. Gibson is responsible for this, but until all the evidence has come forward, officers need to be aware and not rule out any possibility that perhaps someone else is responsible,” Const. Eric Hofley said.