BLOOMINGTON, IL — Police in Illinois have confirmed that a father strangled his two sons to death early Tuesday morning before setting the family home on fire and killing himself — all while his wife slept.
Authorities responded to a fire at around 3 A.M. on Tuesday and found Eric N. Ringenberg, 33, and his two sons dead in the basement, according to a press release provided by the Bloomington Police Department.
The children — a newborn baby and a two-year-old — have only been identified by their initials, CR and RR, according to People.
Investigators said that surveillance cameras found in the home showed Eric hiding all of the phones in the house — including his wife, Pamela’s, cell — in a kitchen cabinet.
When she woke up to the sound of the smoke alarm ringing and tried to call for help, she was unable to find a phone.
After searching for her family, she was forced to flee the house due to smoke inhalation, and asked neighbors to call 911 for her.
Autopsies conducted later on Tuesday showed the boys were strangled to death, according to the release. Police say surveillance footage also shows that Eric intentionally set fire to the home from the basement — and that his death was a suicide.
Pamela was listed in fair condition on Tuesday, according to WGLT.
A joint statement from Bloomington Police, Bloomington Fire, and the McLean County coroner’s office was released, saying:
“The public is asked to remember that if they or someone they know is contemplating suicide or is in a mental health crisis, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK or PATH CRISIS at 211.”
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Main photo: Eric Ringenberg [People (screenshot)]