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Police: 5 dead in Idaho after murders, suicide
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ammon, Idaho • An Iowa man is believed to have fatally shot his two young sons, their mother and her sister in an eastern Idaho home before setting fire to the house and then shooting himself, authorities said Friday.

A neighbor reported a small fire at the house in Ammon at about 3 a.m., leading emergency responders to discover four bodies and a 26-year-old man with a gunshot wound, the Bonneville County sheriff's office said.

The man, Gaylin Leirmoe, later died at Eastern Idaho Medical Center.

Authorities say the two women who died were sisters, 19-year-old Melinda Kern and 22-year-old Michelle Kern. Also killed were Michelle Kern and Leirmoe's two sons, a 10-month-old and a 3-year-old.

Michelle Kern and the two boys had been living in the home with her parents, who were in Salt Lake City for medical reasons at the time of the shootings, authorities said. It was unclear whether Melinda Kern also lived in the house.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jeff Edwards said he didn't know if Michelle Kern and Leirmoe were married, but he said they parted ways six or eight months ago. Leirmoe did not reside in Idaho and had just showed up at the house, Edwards said.

An August birth announcement for Leirmoe and Michelle Kern's youngest son listed Leirmoe's hometown as Dubuque, Iowa. The child was delivered at Mountainview Hospital in Idaho Falls.

The house where the shootings occurred is in a quiet neighborhood in Ammon, a city of about 12,000 just east of Idaho Falls.

Neighbor Dale Fleischman said the sisters' parents, Michael and Roberta Kern, have lived there for several years. She said an officer came to her home Friday morning asking if anyone knew where the couple was.

"It's just a peaceful little cul-de-sac; really nice neighbors," Fleischman said. "So it's quite a shock."

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