After picking up her two young grandsons from day care Tuesday afternoon, an unstable Connecticut woman couldn’t be reached by family members, triggering a statewide Amber Alert that was called off after all three were found dead that night, according to state police and family members.
About two hours after Debra Denison, 47, picked up her grandsons – Ashton Perry was 6 months old and Alton Perry died on his second birthday – the boys’ concerned mother called police, who launched a search and an alert, Connecticut State Police said in a statement.
Denison picked up the boys from their day care in North Stonington, Conn., close to the Rhode Island border, and drove them to a nearby boat launch, Connecticut State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Donna Tadiello told the Los Angeles Times. About 9:30 p.m., a man recognized the grandmother’s vehicle description from the Amber Alert and contacted police, who recovered a revolver at the scene and confirmed that Denison had left a suicide note.
“We’re calling it an apparent murder-suicide,” Tadiello said, adding that an official confirmation won’t come until after the state medical examiner's office completes autopsies. Police are still investigating motive and Denison’s background, she said.
In a post on her Facebook page Wednesday morning, the boys’ mother, Brenda Rowley Perry, asked for prayers for her family, adding that “its [sic] bitter sweet to say but my mom was sick.”
“My boys are in an amazing place,” she wrote. “We got a few great angels watching over us.”
Tadiello said police couldn’t comment on whether Denison had any mental conditions, but Perry and her husband, Jeremy, told the NBC affiliate in Connecticut that Denison had a gun and suffered from split personalities.
“I didn’t want him to be there all day,” Perry told the news station of Alton spending his birthday at the day care center. “I wanted him to come home and play with his new toys and have a good day.”
A woman who answered the phone at Kidds & Co. on Wednesday morning said the day care had decided to stop making public comments, citing the family’s request for privacy and time to grieve.
The day care put up a Facebook post Tuesday: “Our love and prayers are with the Perry family. Tomorrow will be difficult for all of us but we are here to offer our support to all our families and staff.”