Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Custodial granddad murders 6-year-old granddaughter, his wife; in "custody battle" with granddaughter's mom (Westmont, Illinois)

Same old crap.

I don't know how or why the grandparents managed to wrestle custody of their 6-year-old granddaughter from their own daughter. Sometimes there are decent reasons (drug abuse, serious or persistent mental illness). Sometimes it's just the same power and control thing you see in a lot of these cases. Sometimes they just wanted to punish Mom for not kowtowing to their wishes in every respect. And if you're good buddies with the local judge--or your lawyer is--it's especially easy to take custody for basically bogus reasons.

Given that granddad MARK J. CHAPMAN felt entitled enough to blow a way a 6-year-old child with multiple gun shots--rather than risk to the possibility of losing his control and having the child return to her mother--I'm inclined to think abuser control freak.

And please. Why must we interview the Clueless Neighbors who usually have no idea what people are really like? This grandfather mowed down and murdered two innocent people in cold blood. Since when does that make him "very nice" or loving? Had this man murdered two people on the streets or at work in exactly the same way, the media would not be seeking out stupid people to confirm how "nice" the killer is (or was). But there's this unacknowledged patriarchal assumption, see. It it's YOUR womenfolk or children, it's "understandable" and you get a pass. Barf.


Police indicate custody battle was at heart of Westmont murder-suicide

Julia Moore, 6, of Westmont, was killed along with her grandparents in what police claim was a murder-suicide. Her grandfather, Mark J. Chapman, admitted to the killings in a suicide note found at the scene.

By Dave Heitz, dheitz@mysuburbanlife.com
Suburban Life Publications
Posted Nov 22, 2010 @ 03:26 PM

Westmont, IL — Westmont Police said the deaths of three people that were found in their apartment on Friday were the results of a murder suicide involving a 6-year-old child and her grandparents that may have occurred because of a custody dispute.

In autopsies done on Saturday, Nov. 20, the DuPage County Coroner’s Office ruled that Mark J. Chapman, 50, suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and his wife, Linda E. Brennan 51, and Julia A. Moore, 6, were each killed by multiple gunshots in their apartment along the 500 block of W. 61st Street.

Moore was the granddaughter of Chapman and Brennan and was living with them at the time of the shootings, police said.

Moore attended El Sierra School in Downers Grove. Downers Grove Grade School District 58 superintendent Paul Zaander said Moore was “a delightful little girl, and we will miss her dearly.”

There are no plans at this point for any kind of memorial service for Moore by the school, Zaander said.

Police said a handwritten note was recovered at the scene that appears to have been written by Chapman in which he admitted that he killed his wife and granddaughter, and then himself.

While police said the case is still under investigation, and are not certain of a motive at this time, they did indicate there was a custody battle involving the child between the child’s mother and the grandparents which may have contributed to the incident.

“There is a custody dispute that has been underway in the DuPage County Circuit Court,” Deputy Police Chief Jim Gunther said on Monday, Nov. 22. “The grandparents were legal guardians of the child since 2007.”

Police responded to a well-being check at about 10 a.m. Nov. 19 at the apartment when they discovered the bodies. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Gunther said police do not know exactly when the shootings took place.

“We are looking at a window between 1 a.m. Tuesday morning and 1 a.m. Wednesday morning,” Gunther said.

Police said there was no sings of forced entry or any struggle and the weapon that police believe was used was found at the scene. Both Chapman and Brennan were found in the living room, and the child’s body was found in bed in her bedroom.

Frank Slowik, a resident who lives in a neighboring apartment unit, said he heard noises about 1 a.m. Wednesday that could have been gunshots, but did not call police at the time.

“It was very quick, and I didn’t know what to think about it at the time,” he said.

Slowik said he knew the victims very well. He described the family as being “very nice people” and said he never heard any suspicious activity in the apartment before that.

“I know they loved their granddaughter very much,” Slowik said.