CIRCLE PINES, Minn. (WCCO) — Police are investigating the deaths of two people who were found dead in a townhome in the 500 block of Village Parkway in Circle Pines.
Centennial Lakes Police were first dispatched to the home around 9:00am to check on the welfare of a woman who did not show up at work.
When they arrived, they found the door locked, with no answer, so police left at that point. The caller insisted the police return, and around 11:30 a.m., officers forced their way into the home and discovered the bodies of a 36-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman.
Police say the couple broke up this past summer and the woman moved out of the home. They believe she came back to get something, when this happened.
Authorities say they were at the residence twice last summer for domestic calls. They say during one call in June, the boyfriend requested a police escort, and then in August, officers were dispatched there to respond to an argument.
“Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon law enforcement situation. This is a very tragic end to a relationship,” said Lt. Paul Sommer, of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office. “Ironically, the last time we had a situation like this, it was about a year ago, it also was in Circle Pines and it was very near to this residence.”
In July 2009, at a nearby Circle Pines apartment complex, police say James Schwartzbauer shot and killed his girlfriend Erica Olson and killed himself. The couple had been together for 25 years, but had recently separated.
Another recent crime also shows that leaving an abusive relationship can be the most lethal time for women.
In Zumbrota just Monday, police say a woman was moving out of her home when her husband shot her. Police intervened and killed the husband.
In Circle Pines, investigators hope the crime scene reveals more on what led to the final moments for the estranged couple. Police aren’t saying how the two died but say murder-suicide is a possibility. The general public is not at any risk, according to authorities.
The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women says their latest “Femicide” report, released Wednesday, reflects a slight increase in murder suicides across the state.
Of the 28 people that died from domestic violence in Minnesota last year, 15 were women killed by their partners.
Murder suicides accounted for 53 percent of deadly domestic violence incidents last year, up from 47 percent in 2009. The organization says that is higher than the national average of murder suicides in domestic homicides, which is usually about 25 percent.