Catherine Fontaine, 4 and Julia Fontaine, 2 (Courtesy John York)
As a follow up to my post yesterday about the tragedy in San Clemente, CA, I have received many private emails and comments with questions we are all asking. News reports are now saying that both Elizabeth Fontaine and her mother, Bonnie Hoult had gunshot residue on their hands. This leaves open many possibilities and one is that they were both "shooters."
Neighbors indicated some disturbing discussions taking place earlier in the day of the shooting, after a court hearing in which Elizabeth was ordered to return with her daughters to turn them over to her sister-in-law who was granted temporary custody. We don't know, at this point, if the gun was present during ,or alluded to, in this conversation, however the discussions were disturbing enough for the other occupants of the home to leave in fear.
The gun was registered to Bonnie Hoult who possibly kept it in a local safe deposit box.
"I think it is too early to tell if Elizabeth was the shooter/murderer. The gun was registered to the grandmother. I think both women decided to do this, as evidenced by the owner of the home reporting disturbing discussions between the two of them just prior to the shootings."
Questions and comments left in the blog and by private email are alluding that Elizabeth Fontaine, the mother of two precious little girls had suffered much abuse during her life.
This tragedy leaves no doubt that it was carried out by a woman is boggling. We, other women and mothers, can't wrap our minds around that fact. Either one or both, Elizabeth Fontaine or Bonnie Hault, pulled the trigger that took the lives of two small children that they both loved.
"It has not been clearly defined who was the shooter in this matter. The investigation is still ongoing and it is premature to point at the mother, although it is more likely than not. Whoever it was that pulled the trigger only saw one door out of the situation. A very sad event to occur at any time of the year. My heart goes out to the family for such a tragic and unwarranted loss of life. "
Elizabeth Fontaine's accusations of child molestation against her husband were never proven in a court of law, and were dismissed in California. After her daughter, Catherine, was examined by a new team of psychologists in Texas, she re-opened the custody case and renewed her allegations against her husband, Jason Fontaine.
As we try so hard to make sense of this we question many things. As in other cases of family annihilation where the male is the killer, we have come to almost expect it, but it's hard for us to accept that a woman and mother can react in this deadly way and snuff out the lives of her offspring.
Abuse is abuse and no matter how and when it happens, there are and will always be repurcussions. Each individual deals with abuse in distinct, unique ways and as some are able to move their lives forward, others are left with scars so deep that their reactions to stresses and triggers can be deadly.