Mom strangled, boys stabbed to death and friend tells police mom was distraught over marriage

Police say a friend of Linda Vanderlinden has come forward to say the stay-at-home mother of two talked about being distraught about her marriage.

That friend reportedly talked to Linda on Wednesday. Later that day is when investigators suspect Linda was strangled and her sons, four-year-old Matthew and seven-year-old Julian, stabbed to death. Linda was also stabbed once in the chest.

An 8-inch butcher knife was found in the kitchen sink and investigators say it appeared the killer had tried to clean blood off the knife's blade.

Investigators say they are still gathering information and exploring all avenues, but right now they suspect Linda's husband, Michael Vanderlinden, is responsible for the killings in their Van Buren Township home.

Police discovered the bodies Thursday morning when officers went to notify Linda Vanderlinden of her husband's death.

Around 1:35 a.m. Thursday, Indiana State Police say Michael Vanderlinden was killed when he caused a head-on collision on I-94 near Michigan City.

Investigators say Vanderlinden was driving, without his headlights, east on the westbound lanes when he collided into a vehicle being driven by Juan Nelson of Portage, Indiana.

Nelson was also killed.

It was when police went to notify Linda Vanderlinden of Michael's death that they discovered she and her young sons had been murdered.

The Vanderlinden boys were part of the Van Buren School District. Superintendent Michael Van Tassel released the following statement:

The Van Buren Public Schools Family is deeply saddened to learn today of the tragic deaths of two Van Buren Schools students.  During the 2011-2012 school year, the seven year old attended 1st grade in the Gifted and Talented program at Tyler Elementary School and the four year old was to attend the Bright Beginnings Pre-School at ECDC in the coming year.  Our hearts and prayers are with their families and friends at this terrible time.

As a service to the community, we will have a grief counselor available at Savage Elementary School located at 42975 Savage Road, on Friday, August 17th, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on a walk-in basis.

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