Year-old police report could shed light on murder of Van Buren Township mom, two sons

Friends react to the devastating discovery

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich (wxyz) - Friends and neighbors react to a devastating discovery in a Van Buren Township home, a mom and two little boys murdered.

"I am sad and shocked and mad," said John Jones when he found out his next door neighbor, Linda Vanderlinden, and her two young sons were found murdered.

It is same reaction from most of the people who live on Anna Drive and knew the Vanderlinden family.

Those closest to the family say they know the father, Michael, suffered from depression and he tried to take his life back in December. On a 911 call, the wife says he took sleeping pills and wanted to go to the hospital.

The gruesome discovery was made after a fatal crash in Indiana led police to the three bodies in the crash victim's home in Van Buren Township.

Police in Indiana responded to a vehicle crash on I-94 at the 43 mile marker where two drivers were found dead Thursday morning.

Authorities say it happened around 1:30 a.m. They believe a vehicle was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes. It collided head-on with a second vehicle, igniting a fire.

Both 45-year-old Juan Nelson Jr. of Portage, Indiana and 38-year-old, wrong way driver Michael Vanderlinden of Belleville, Michigan were pronounced dead at the scene.

LaPorte County Medical Examiner John Sullivan says Van Buren Twp. Police went to Vanderlinden's home around 8:30 a.m. to notify his family of the crash.

Police didn't get an answer at the door and talked with neighbors.

Neighbors told police it was odd because Vanderlinden's wife is a stay-at-home mom and her two children are out of school.

The front door was also open.

Police entered the home and discovered a woman in her mid-30s and two young boys, ages 4 and 7, had been stabbed to death in the home.

The two little boys, Matthew, 4, and Julian, 7, played with all the kids in the neighborhood. In fact, one neighbor says her children were at the house late yesterday.  She says she doesn't know how to tell them they are gone.

Late Thursday night, police found a domestic assault report Linda made against her husband the same night she made the 9-1-1 call back in November.

"She commented that she was going to leave the residence, he was emotional at that time, didn't want her to leave.  He grabbed her by the arms and shook her and pleaded with her not to leave.  She still left," said Captain Greg Laurain with the Van Buren Twp. Police Department. 

Police couldn't find the report at first because it was recorded as a medical call.  Linda told police about the assault after firefighters responded for her husband's overdose of sleeping pills and booze.   

"He wanted to talk about his therapist treatment that he had been having, she didn't want to talk about it.  She wanted to leave and that's when the argument came," said Capt. Laurain.

Captain Laurain said since Michael only allegedly shook his wife, it was called a simple touching.  Police submitted a warrant request, but the Wayne County Prosecutor's office denied it the next day.  That case closed, while this one is still very much open.  Friday police will begin to go through the family computers.  They hope Internet searches and social media accounts will shed new light on the case.

People have started to bring balloons and stuffed animals to the house, building a little memorial for the boys. In the meantime everyone is just trying to cope with the loss.

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