COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Autopsy reports have disclosed horrific new details in the October quadruple murder-suicide in which a Tennessee woman fired 34 rounds into her four adopted children before killing herself.
Cynthia Kessler Collier’s adult biological son discovered her body Oct. 15, along with those of his adopted siblings: Kaileigh Lin, 17, Lia Lin, 15, and 14-year-olds Meigan Lin and Bo Li. The son, who lived with his mother and siblings, found the family dead in their Columbia home when he returned home from work.
WKRN in Nashville reported that the children were killed with multiple guns, including a shotgun.
Kaileigh was found slain on the bathroom floor, 13 gunshot wounds piercing her body, the news station reported. Lia was found dead in her bed, suffering from nine gunshot wounds.
Bo was shot four times and Meigan, eight times. Like Lia, they were also killed in bed.
Collier, a 55-year-old stay-at-home mom who homeschooled the children, died of a single gunshot wound to the head, WKRN reported. Neither she nor any of the children had drugs or alcohol in their systems.
A suicide note was found, but authorities have not disclosed the contents of the note, the news station said. No motive for the slayings has been revealed.
Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland said in a news conference following the slayings that, by all accounts, Collier was a "very loving mother, with the exception of this one incident."
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"This appears to be a loving home," Rowland said. "It's an immaculate home and a very loving family, so a motive would be very important to know what would lead someone to do this to her loved ones."
Watch Rowland’s entire Oct. 16 news conference below.
Collier's obituary described her as a loving and devoted mother and grandmother.
"She was a tender and sweet soul who always put others first," the obituary read. "She embodied selflessness, pure love, and a childlike, joyful spirit. Despite the struggles of her life, she sought to live out the will of God. She was adored and treasured by all of her children."
The Collier children’s obituaries portray them as smart, loving and talented individuals with bright futures waiting for them.
"Kaileigh was a wise young woman of deep thought and astounding biblical knowledge," the 17-year-old's obituary read. "She was brilliant academically and held the highest of standards for herself in all things. She loved classic country and was passionate about music. She was on her way to becoming an accomplished guitar player and also enjoyed playing banjo and mandolin.
“In loving respect of her, she was more beautiful than she knew.”
Lia was described as “unrelenting joy and exuberance.”
"A loving and tender young woman who was always concerned about others' well-being, she loved baking, crafting and sewing," her obituary read. "Gift giving was something that made her truly light up. (She was) a sweet-hearted social butterfly who enjoyed good jokes and teasing."
Meigan, like her older sister Kaileigh, loved music, but was also a budding artist.
"Meigan was a happy, contented and dynamic young woman," her obituary read. "She loved to laugh and had a bright, fun-loving spirit. She dedicated much of her free time to artistic endeavors through sketches and music. She loved playing catchy instrumental songs on her guitar."
Bo, the youngest by just a few months, shared many of his sisters’ talents.
"Bo was a spectacular young man in the midst of developing all the qualities of a great man," his obituary read. "He had a brilliant mind, was always one for subtle witty jokes, and enjoyed playful teasing. Much like his siblings, he was very talented musically, playing instrumental songs on his piano and converting music by ear whenever he wanted."
that Collier and her estranged husband, Randall Collier Sr., had been going through divorce proceedings in the months leading up to the murders, but that they had been trying to reconcile. The couple married in 1982 in Norfolk, Virginia, when Randall Collier was 22 and Cynthia Collier was 19,
Randall Collier did not live at the family’s home when the shooting took place. Court records showed that the four children who were slain gave sworn statements in the divorce proceedings, saying they wanted to remain living with their mother and that they barely knew their father.
The couple’s three biological children -- two sons and a daughter -- also gave sworn statements in which they said their own relationships with their father had been strained, even before the Colliers’ 2007 separation.
The four adopted children were adopted from China between 2003 and 2008, the Tennessean reported. It was unclear if Randall Collier participated in all the adoptions, given the couple's separation.
Rowland said Randall Collier and other family members were interviewed during the investigation into the shootings, but the department has no evidence that the crime was anything other than a murder-suicide. His department had no record of any domestic calls to the home prior to the son's 911 call reporting his grisly discovery.
Cox Media Group