In 2008, 36-year-old William "David" O'Shell, a police officer, and his wife 25-year-old Tiffany Cuin-O'Shell, were found dead in the couple's Lakewood Colorado home, victims of an apparent murder-suicide late on a Sunday night. Less than a month earlier, the couple's 3-month-old daughter had been removed from their care under suspicion of child abuse, after a visit to the hospital revealed multiple unexplained fractures and a broken leg.
According to 9News, Dave O'Shell became the prime suspect for his daughter's "serious injuries" and likely faced arrest for felony child abuse. Reports indicate Dave--presumably mortified by allegations of child abuse--proceeded to shoot his wife while she slept, then took his own life.
"My son and I were up late watching a movie. We had the windows open to let in some cool air. And we heard some pops," said a neighbor at the time to KMGH. "My son was startled, so I assured him that it was just fireworks. But I noted the time because it was about 12:30. A little late for fireworks. It was loud. There was a pause in between the pops. Maybe a minute or two."
A week later, reports The Denver Post, doctors determined the child hadn't been abused.
Instead, she was struggling with spinal muscular atrophy -- a highly debilitating genetic disorder with symptoms including weak muscles, brittle bones, and a severely decreased lifespan.
Months after her parents' deaths, the 7-month-old Alyssa died in her grandfather's arms.
Now, nearly four years later, the family remains critical of caseworkers and officials behind the allegations of child abuse. Gov. Hickenlooper and Colorado's Department of Human Services announced an overhaul to Colorado's child welfare system in late February of this year, aiming to increase accountability in a system critics have labeled complicit in the deaths of 43 children in the last five years.