Update: Earlier this week, a suicidal Kelli Lynn Murphy told police her two children, Liam and Madigan, were in heaven. But those who loved the kids are in a kind of hell right now, as was clear at a gathering last night in Castle Rock's Founders Park, where hundreds of people, including their father, Robert Eric Murphy, mourned their loss. See a video from the vigil below.
Today, two contrasting events are scheduled -- the funeral of the kids and the formal charging of their mother with murder.
She will not attend the services.
Robert Eric Murphy, who Kelli Lynn accused of abusive behavior toward Liam and Madigan in a civil protection order filed earlier this year, did not speak at the park last night, although he was on hand, wearing a hooded sweatshirt. However, Madigan's kindergarten teacher, Salome Raj, captured the thoughts of many when she said, "I will miss her but I'm glad I had the honor of being part of her short life."
Here's a 9News video of the impromptu memorial, followed by our earlier coverage:
Original item, followed by updates: Details are emerging about Kelli Lynn Murphy, a 41-year-old Castle Rock woman who's been arrested in the deaths of her two children, Madigan and Liam, ages six and nine. Among them: She previously accused her husband, Robert, of domestic abuse -- but he's the one who requested a welfare check of the family the day before the kids were killed.
At first glance, the family seemed happy. But according to court documents obtained by 9News, troubles lurked just below the surface. The couple had filed for divorce, and Kelli took out a civil protection order against Robert in early March, telling frightening tales to back up this request.
One one occasion, she said Madigan had been dawdling at the dinner table after Robert had finished eating. He allegedly responded by grabbed her throat and screaming at her to finish her meal. On another, he was giving Madigan a bath, and when the girl didn't wash the soap off her quickly enough by his standards, Kelli said he seized her by the neck and forced her head under the faucet. She also claimed Robert held her captive in the basement in addition to hitting her with the door.
Nonetheless, Kelli asked that the divorce petition be withdrawn on April 11; a meeting on the topic was scheduled for tomorrow. She also had a court appearance scheduled on Monday in regard to the restraining order -- but it was not to be.
On Sunday, Robert requested that Castle Rock police check on the welfare of the kids. Apparently, nothing was found amiss at that time. But at 7:48 a.m. the next morning, Kelli called police dispatch to say she was suicidal. When the operator asked if there were children in the house, Kelli told her they were in heaven.
Madigan and Liam were found in their beds with no visible signs of injury; the coroner has yet to establish a cause of death. In the meantime, Kelli has been arrested on murder charges, with other counts expected to follow.
Here's a look at Murphy's booking photo and an early 9News report, followed by the latest updates:
Update, 3:01 p.m. May 24: The Douglas County Coroner's Office performed autopsies on Liam and Madigan Murphy today, according to a release -- but the examinations were unable to determine a cause of death.
Furthermore, the office notes that additional tests intended to confirm how the children died may take as long as six weeks. The result: an agonizing wait for everyone involved in the case, which is becoming more, not less, mysterious as new information emerges.
Update, 6:56 a.m. May 25: Yesterday, Kelli Lynn Murphy made her initial court appearance in the death of her two children, Liam and Madigan. As described by the Denver Post, she wore a prison jumpsuit, flip flops and bandages on her wrist -- a vivid reminder of her suicidal call to local police early on Monday morning. The paper also notes that in addition to filing for a divorce earlier this year, she and her husband, Robert Eric Murphy (who goes by his middle name), also declared bankruptcy last June.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Kelli is currently being held without bond in anticipation of first-degree murder charges. In the meantime, the Murphy family released a brief statement that reads: "everyone for their prayers and support during this most difficult time. Thank you for also giving us the privacy our family needs to grieve this terrible loss."
Here's a 9News report about her court appearance:
More from our News archive: "Adam Raszynski allegedly stomped mom Rita Redford to death after she shot him."