Coroner: Pa. mother shot, killed herself and 2 young children

The mother and two children were found in a bedroom early Tuesday after emergency responders were called to a fire at the Strasburg Township home

Mother kills herself and two children in Strasburg Township, Pennsylvania.
Courtesy: WHTM

STRASBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A southeastern Pennsylvania mother fatally shot her two young children and herself after setting several fires at their Strasburg Township home, investigators said.

Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni announced his findings after an autopsy Wednesday morning. He said 40-year-old Carola Arnau’s death is a suicide and the deaths of her children are homicides.

Arnau, along with her 10-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, was found in a bedroom early Tuesday after emergency responders were called to a fire on Village Road in Strasburg Township.

Diamantoni said the boy died from multiple gunshots to his body and his sister died from a head wound. He said the children were killed with the same gun the mother used on herself.

“It’s just a sad situation,” said Barbara Benner, who lives down the street from the home. “I mean, there had to be other ways to get around doing things than that.”

District Attorney Craig Stedman said Arnau bought the gun and ammunition on Monday. He said the gun was found by her body and soot from firing it was found on her hand.

The children were found in their beds and died in their sleep, investigators said.

Stedman said Arnau shot and killed the family dog and used an accelerant to set multiple fires in the house and a detached garage. Her husband, who was living in the garage during the couple’s pending divorce, was at work at the time of the fire and shootings.

Court records show Arnau had filed for a protective order against her husband on behalf of her son, but police found no evidence to support her claims. Investigators also said she had been going through mental health treatments.

“That’s something you won’t forget,” Benner said. “It’s horrible. You just can’t visualize anybody doing that.”

A makeshift memorial of a balloon, candles, and a teddy bear was set up outside the house.


WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s