“He had been threatening her about how he would kill the whole family if she ever left him,” Crysel Woods told CNN. Woods is the wife of Danica Baxter’s grandfather, George Britt. And while both Britt and Woods knew their granddaughter’s estranged husband had anger issues, they never imagined that he would take Baxter’s life and the lives of the three children they had together.
According to KTVK, Tempe, Ariz. man Glenn Baxter, 27, Danica, 25, and their three children, Reighn, 3, Nazyiah, 2, and Zariyah, 1, all died after Glenn drove them into Tempe Town Lake early Sunday morning in what police are calling a murder-suicide. According to People, surveillance footage showed Glenn getting out of the car after driving up to the lake, looking around to inspect the barriers, and then getting back into the SUV to drive it “at a high rate of speed” into the water. This happened around 12 a.m. The car flipped over and Danica, who was in the front seat, and their three kids, all in the back, were trapped.
“Mr. Baxter took deliberate action,” police spokesman Michael Pooley said in a statement to the Associated Press. “It’s absolutely horrific what happened to those little kids and their mother.”
Danica’s family said that the 25-year-old mom and her husband were estranged after getting married in 2012. She moved out of their home and asked for a divorce, ready to move forward without him.
Early Sunday morning, Danica had gone over to Glenn’s home, according to her brother, to pick up her kids. How she ended up in the SUV with all three of the children at that time of the early morning, no one knows.
As her brother told KTVK, “She had to be petrified. She had to be scared to even get in the car with him and let him drive. She didn’t go over there to sort out no conflicts, to argue or nothing. She went over there to get her kids.”
After the SUV carrying the family had flipped over into the water, a fisherman and responding officers from Tempe’s police department jumped in to try and save the family. Once the SUV was searched after the crash, a handgun was found, but police couldn’t say whether or not Danica and her children were forced into the car at gunpoint.
No matter how the sad situation unfolded, Danica’s family knows that they are only left to reel without her.
“My heart is sick,” Britt told CNN. “It’s sick. It’s sick. It’s going to be a while before my heart get back right. He took part of me when he took them. He really took all of me.”