DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Wayne County medical examiner’s office has confirmed a mother and two children found dead in a metro Detroit home were stabbed with a butcher knife.

Van Buren Township police Capt. Gregory Laurain said Friday autopsies on the victims show Linda VanDerLinden, 34, died of strangulation, but had also been stabbed in the chest.

According to Laurain, the medical examiner’s report also says 7-year-old Julien VanDerLinden and his 4-year-old brother, Matthew, were stabbed multiple times in the chest and arms.

Police said they recovered the weapon they believe was used in the stabbings, an 8-inch butcher knife, in the kitchen sink.

Authorities discovered the bodies Thursday when they went to notify family members that Michael VanDerLinden died in a head-on crash on an Indiana freeway.

Laurain said the 38-year-old man is suspected of killing his wife and two children.

Laurain told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis that Michael VanDerLinden attempted suicide last year by overdosing on pills and alcohol after his wife threatened to leave him.

“At that time, police were eventually called to the scene because there was suspicion of domestic violence,” Laurain said. “Her and her husband were in a verbal argument over her leaving … he grabbed her by both arms, was crying, shaked her arms and said please don’t leave, stay here.”

Police said 45-year-old Juan Nelson Jr. of Portage, Indiana also died along with VanDerLinden in the crash along I-94, east of the Michigan City exit.

An investigation into the killings and the crash continues.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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