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The Bozeman Chronicle
A Gallatin County woman shot to death her husband and their infant child before killing herself in the couple’s home just east of Bozeman on Friday night, authorities said.
At around 5 p.m. Friday, Gallatin County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911-hangup call from a number a dispatcher recognized as belonging to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Sergeant Joseph Knarr.
Deputies arrived at Knarr’s home at 341 Golden Trout Way to find it locked. After looking through the window, deputies spotted a body on the floor and broke open the front door.
In the home’s dining room, the deputies found the bodies of two adults and one 6-month-old child. All had suffered gunshot wounds, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said during a press conference Saturday morning. One deputy and a volunteer firefighter took the child outside and attempted unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.
The deceased were identified as Joseph and Jennifer Knarr, and their son, Daniel. Both parents were game wardens with the FWP — Jennifer Knarr worked for the agency for eight years and Joseph Knarr for 21. The gun used was Jennifer Knarr’s .40-caliber pistol issued by the FWP, Gootkin said.
According to investigators, Jennifer Knarr walked behind Joseph Knarr and shot him in the back of the head, then shot Daniel in the chest. She then called 911, hung up, sat down and shot herself.
Authorities are investigating reports from Jennifer Knarr’s family that she had suffered from postpartum depression since the birth of her son last fall.
[According to the Daily Mail: “Sheriff Brian Gootkin said investigators may never know the reason for the shootings. Family members who spoke with Gootkin indicated that Mrs Knarr had been battling postpartum depression since the birth of her son last fall.”]
“Every single family member that I talked to said the same thing,” said a visibly shaken Gootkin, adding, “We may never know the answer.”
FWP Regional Supervisor Sam Sheppard, who started working with the agency the same week as Joseph Knarr, said he was “shocked and heartbroken” by the news.
“Our prayers go out to the family and friends of those we lost yesterday, especially the FWP family and the local law enforcement community,” he said.
Sheppard described the Knarrs as “dedicated professionals.”
“These are good, good people, and the worst things can happen to good people,” said Gootkin. “It’s different than other situations we deal with because these weren’t just colleagues, they were friends.”
Friday’s murder-suicide follows the killing of 37-year-old Darcy Buhmann Wednesday morning, and Gootkin made a point of emphasizing the need for improved mental health resources around the state.
“We need to get better as a community dealing with mental health, with issues like postpartum depression,” the sheriff said. “Unbelievable tragedies like this, if they are preventable we need to do everything we can to prevent them.”
The sheriff’s office investigation will continue this week.
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Jennifer Lynne Knarr (1981 – 2016) Obituary — (The Bozeman Chronicle)
Jennifer Lynne Knarr, 34, of Bozeman, passed away on Friday, March 11 at her home, due to extreme effects of postpartum psychosis. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, March 23 at 3 p.m. at the Grace Bible Church in Bozeman.
Jen Southers was born June 19, 1981, in Great Falls, Montana. Jen attended high school at Great Falls High School and graduated in 1999. She worked at Montana Federal Credit Union prior to moving to Bozeman where she attended MSU Bozeman, and received her degree in Fish Wildlife Management. She began her career with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks while working towards her degree. She was a work study student at the region 3 Wildlife Lab. She found the work fascinating and rewarding. Upon graduating from MSU, she married Mike Williams and spent some time living in the Portland area.
Jen and Mike moved back to Montana and lived in the Kalispell area; they later divorced. Jen came back to Bozeman and resumed her work at the wildlife lab before finding her true calling with FWP as an enforcement officer. She loved her work and the people she had the privilege to work with. Jen was constantly striving to learn all she could. She was given many opportunities to learn and took advantage of them, to hopefully attain her goal to become an investigator within the department.
Jen married the love of her life, Joe Knarr in 2014. They had many adventures together and enjoyed family vacations with Cooper and the dogs. One of Jen’s greatest adventures was spending time in the Liuwa Plains National Park in Zambia, South Africa, living in a tent and helping some of her close friends with a research project. Jen and Joe shared their passion for the outdoors, protecting the people, natural resources and wildlife of Montana. They were both Game Wardens. They were blessed with a beautiful baby boy in 2015, Daniel (Danny) Robert Knarr. Danny was the greatest joy in Jen’s life and in her heart.
Jen is survived by her mom, Karen Southers of Great Falls; father, Rick Southers, and stepmother Mary Ann of Port St. Lucie, Florida; siblings Ricky, Randy and Jewell Southers; grandparents Verlette Eshleman of Great Falls; Bill and Dorothy Southers of Port St. Lucie Florida; aunts and uncles Tammy Eshleman of Bozeman; Sheryl and Dennis Hunking of Keizer, Oregon; Billy Southers of Seabrook, New Hampshire; Kim Southers of West Palm Beach, Florida; several cousins and great aunts and uncles.
We lost a truly amazing woman, a woman who truly made a difference in the world.
Memorials are suggested to the Montana Raptor Center; P O Box 4061, Bozeman, MT 59772.
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Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression & Psychosis: Countering the Danger of Antidepressants — (Mad In America)
In addition, antidepressants do not diminish suicidal behavior, they magnify it. There are very good reasons for the black box warning. Putting mothers on antidepressants after delivery increases rather than decreases the suicide potential. Our psychiatric care needs to be a human process that respectfully honors the realities that mothers are going through.
Postpartum psychosis is a different matter. The hormones and turmoil of a pregnancy may trigger a psychosis in patients who are manic-depressive or schizoaffective, no matter what theories one carries about etiology. This may be a first episode or a subsequent episode. In the early 1900’s over 50% of females in hospitals had postpartum psychoses. (At the same time in males, 50% were psychotic due to syphilis.) Treatment requires intensive psychotherapy with special care for the baby with a primary caretaker, when the mother is unable to manage. Resumption of care is so important as soon as she is able. She is the mother and needs to be respected as such. The recovery of the maternal connection is so central to the well being of the baby. Sometimes, short-term anti-psychotics may be useful for postpartum psychosis. I will add as well that antidepressants can generate a manic episode or a psychosis in susceptible mothers. They should never be given under any circumstances. Even though the APA actually acknowledges this, it happens all the time.