The images of three-year-old Adam and five-year-old Ethan Laber went out across the state of Colorado. The boys and their mother, Jennifer Laber, 38, from Highland, were missing, reported to police by Laber’s husband. The last images of the family seen alive were on November 30 as they left Bear Canyon Elementary School. Laber is seen walking next to her kids; one is wearing a backpack and the other looks as if he was carrying something, possibly his pack as well.
Less than 24 hours later, a witness in the area called police to say they found a minivan parked in a strange place. The vehicle was reportedly resting in the loading dock area of a Sports Authority store. Jennifer and both of the young children were found dead inside the van. All three died of gunshot wounds, and Jennifer’s were self-inflicted, according to police.
Douglas County Chief Deputy Steve Johnson spoke to the station about the case. He said, “We certainly didn’t see this horrific ending that this case has come to today.” Authorities added that the weapon used was a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun that Jennifer purchased just an hour and a half before picking the children up from school.Over the weekend, according to News 9, Ryan Laber spoke about his wife’s long battle with depression. Laber said, “My wife Jen had an immense love for her boys. She dedicated her life to them.” Laber added, “Depression is a disease. It is insidious, coercive and often operates in silence. Depression can alter reality and uproot every sensibility. We reached a point years ago where the darkness had subsided for a family to be born.”
Dr. Sheryl Ziegler spoke to Fox 31 in Denver and said the support of a loved one is not enough for someone battling depression. She added it’s not only hard for a partner to recognize what is happening, but also it’s also quite difficult to cope. Ziegler added, “When the person who is depressed is the primary caretaker to children there needs to be a plan around that. There needs to be safety planning; there need to be conversations around these things.”
If you wish to donate to the family, you may do so through BridgeWay Church.
If you or someone you know is battling depression, please consider reaching out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Main photo: The last image of Jennifer Laber and her two boys. [Douglas County]