Authorities are investigating after a man and child were found dead Sunday in a southern Minnesota home after an apparent-murder suicide.
Police officers and a Rice County sheriff's deputy were called to a home on the 2500 block of Hulett Avenue in Faribault Sunday afternoon, after a neighbor saw a man lying in the entryway through a window, according to a news release from Faribault Police.
After forced entry, police found the body of 33-year-old Ryan Perrizo, who lived in the home, officials said in an updated news release Monday morning. There was a handgun laying next to him.
A child's body was found elsewhere in the home. She hasn't been identified, and police are working to determine the relationship between her and Perrizo, the release says.
Police believe they both died from gunshot wounds, but the medical examiner will confirm that, the release says, noting they are investigating the incident as a murder-suicide.
“This is truly a tragic occurrence. Our officers are working very diligently to determine the exact circumstances of Sunday’s events," Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen said in the release.
Violence against children
On average, 450 children are killed in the U.S. every year by their parents, according to a 2014 USA TODAY examination of more than three decades of FBI homicide data.
Other findings from the analysis:
- Three out of four child victims are under the age of 5.
- Almost half of all victims died from physical beatings or other injuries.
- Men are more likely to kill - fathers were at fault in 75 percent of cases when children were shot to death by a parent and in 64 percent of cases when a child was beaten.
- Mothers are far more likely to kill young children - nearly 40 percent of all kids killed by their mothers were less than a year old.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the number and rate of child fatalities has fluctuated over the years, with a nationally estimated 1,580 children killed by abuse and neglect in 2014. Parents were responsible for 79.3 percent of those fatalities.
Several psychiatrists have studied why parents kill their children (also known as filicide) in an attempt to understand the reason for such a heinous crime. One of the most influential reviews on the subject was created in 1969 by psychiatrist Phillip Resnick.
Resnick worked on 40 to 60 cases of filicide over the course of his 40-year career, TIME reports. He identified five main circumstances in which parents kill their children:
- Altruistic filicide: A parent kills their child "out of love"; they believe death to be in the child's best interest.
- Acutely psychotic filicide:Apsychotic or delirious parent kills the child without a rational motive.
- Fatal maltreatment filicide: A parent unintentially kills the child as the result of abuse or neglect.
- Unwanted child filicide: A parent thinks of the child as a hindrance.
- Spouse revenge filicide: The most rare, it occurs when a parent kills their child to emotionally harm the other parent.
So is there any way to prevent these types of crimes?
There are Safe Haven laws that allow parents to anonymously surrender their children to the custody of the state without legal repercussions. And in 1970, before Roe vs. Wade, Resnick had a theory that liberal abortion laws would decrease the occurrence of neonaticide (murdering a child the day it is born), according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. At least one study found his theory to be true in the 10 years following the decision.
But Resnick told TIME in 2011 that it's a complicated question.
"There are broad issues, such as easier access to mental health care, which is a problem right now with state cutbacks becoming severe. Another thing is awareness. If a woman is very depressed and she has young children and makes a suicide attempt, there is 1-in-20 chance that she will try to take the kid with her," Resnick said.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story said the child died of a gunshot wound before police had revealed that information. A follow-up Monday confirmed that is the likely cause of death. GoMN apologies for the error.)