After a Michigan woman took the lives of her husband and children in a murder-suicide, eyes turned to her former religious community.
Lauren Stuart, 45, of Keego Harbor shot and killed her husband, Daniel, 47, and children Steven and Bethany, 27 and 24 respectively. Then she killed herself, reports the Detroit Free Press.
A friend told FOX 2 Detroit that Stuart might have done so after she was shunned by the Jehovah’s Witness Church that her family formerly attended. She and her family made the decision to leave about five years prior.
“They suffered the harsh consequences that every Jehovah’s Witness faces when they choose to leave the religion,” friend Joyce Taylor explained. “I can guarantee you straight on, if they were to have called their family, especially Danny, and if they recognized the phone number, they would not answer it.”
Taylor would know the feeling. She went through it herself when she left the church nearly 30 years prior.
She said Stuart confided in her about her feelings and the pain that the decision caused. She says the church spread lies about the family, doing things like accusing them of breaking into the church. They also forbade family members and friends from interacting with the family.
“The church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were hog wild after them, just brutal.”