The Gresham police department discovered three people shot dead in an apartment in suburban Portland. The Gresham officers received a call to conduct a welfare check at the apartment on Tuesday morning when the bodies were found.
According to the police officials, the victims were a mother and her two children, Ashley Palmer, 31, Kayleana Beatrice Palmer, 6, and Xavier Rayvaughn Danger Palmer, 8. Autopsies suggests that their death was a murder-suicide.
As per court records, Ashley had separated from her spouse, Jenavie Palmer, 34, in 2018 and the couple divorced two years later. They were currently in the middle of a terrible custody dispute and Ashley was facing the prospect of having to share custody of her children.
The custody battle had taken a toll on Ashley, who claimed twice in court that her children would be in imminent danger if Jenavie was granted partial custody. "Every time that (Ashley) has not gotten her way, she has petitioned the court for an immediate danger order," Erin O'Riley, Jenavie's lawyer, wrote in the filing.
"We were in the middle of trial and the children were going back and forth between our houses," Jenavie told the Oregonian/OregonLive. She revealed Ashley had texted her around midnight, hours before the crime was committed. The message had a YouTube link to a playlist with the words "mother children murder suicide 2022."
The alarming text had her immediately call 911 and the police responded however, they did not get into the apartment and advised her to wait until morning to check on the children. Jenavie later mentioned that Ashley's mother had also reached out to the police asking them to check on her daughter and grandchildren.
According to OregonLive, Jenavie last saw her children the weekend before Mother's Day weekend and said when she last spoke with the children, they were happy and were eager to see her again.
"They were loved," she said. "They had their whole lives ahead of them and it was stolen from them. They are going to be very, very missed."
The children studied together in the Bridger School in Southeast Portland, where Xavier was in second grade and Kayleana was in kindergarten. "Our hearts are with the school community in this time, and we are making additional resources and supports available to students, staff, and families," Portland Public Schools said in a statement.