A woman from Keego Harbor, Michigan, shot and killed her two children, her husband, and even their dog before she killed herself.
Forty-five-year-old Lauren Stuart shocked the community and friends of the family with this horrifying act, which some believe was caused by the fact that Lauren was continuously shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses members for quite some time.
The tragic event took the lives of 47-year-old Daniel Stuart, 24-year-old Bethany Stuart, and 27-year-old Steven Stuart.
A panicked family relative notified the police on Friday; after the police officers rushed to the house in the morning, they discovered the bodies of the whole Stuart family inside, as well as the body of their dog in one of the bathtubs.
Close family friends tend to believe that Lauren’s connection with Jehovah’s Witnesses has a lot to do with the murder-suicide. Local news reports suggest that Lauren grew up as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses and then left them about five years ago, leaving her shunned.
Daniel Stuart also grew up as a member of the religious organization, but he and his wife made the decision to leave because they wanted to send their daughter and son to college, which is against the organization’s rules.
The couple left the Union Lake Kingdom Hall branch, and the other members started to avoid them in public. They would not even look them in the eye.
Joyce Taylor was one of the friends of the family, and she witnessed how people who were once very close to Lauren immediately started to distance themselves from her and act like she was not there in public places. They ignored her, and Joyce thinks that may be one of the reasons for Lauren’s decision to murder her beloved family and even the dog.
The two women met up about a week before the tragedy, and Joyce said that everything seemed rather normal, although she did feel that Lauren was probably dealing with some kind of personal matter; she said that issue—combined with the continuous shunning from Jehovah’s Witnesses—probably caused too much stress for Lauren.
However, Joyce thought that their meeting was pretty typical, as Lauren used to be kind of upset most of the time due to the shunning from her former friends.
After the tragedy, Joyce broke into Kingdom Hall during a Jehovah’s Witnesses meeting in Union Lake and spoke to those assembled, yelling at everybody and telling them that their attitude was the reason her friends were now dead.
Lauren decided to change her life after she left the religion and started making steps towards a career in modeling. Her profile on Facebook is full of photos on that subject, and everything seemed to be going fine for her.
In a post online she said how much she loved acting and modeling. Lauren also wrote that she was adventurous and liked to learn and obtain new skills. She appeared to be a positive person who loved life.
Similar incidents have occurred in the past.
Former Michigander Christian Longo was so ashamed due to being dismissed tossed out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that he murdered his wife and his three little kids in 2001. According to authorities, he had financial issues—and that became the reason the religious group threw him out; after that, he killed his family.
A family from South Carolina was found dead in their home in 2014. The case was a murder-suicide committed by the father, a devoted Jehovah’s Witnesses member. He shot his wife and children in the heads, after which he did the same thing to himself.
There are other reports of former Jehovah’s Witnesses members who have committed suicide after being thrown out of and then later ignored by the religion. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to such cases—with the sole purpose to raise awareness that this ostracism against former members is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
The Union Lake Kingdom Hall has not responded yet to all the enquiries towards them about their position and opinion on Lauren Stuart’s case.