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Woman and son dead after suspected murder-suicide

By Brandon Addeo • Updated Jun 6, 2019 at 8:13 AM

HURON TWP. — A Huron woman and her son are dead in a suspected murder-suicide Tuesday. 

Heather Schmidt, 44, was shot in the head at least once. Her son, Dakota Leeland, 16, also suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

The incident occurred in the 500 block of Snowy Egret Drive sometime Tuesday afternoon or evening.

A younger son of Schmidt’s discovered his mother’s body and his brother, who was still alive at the time, in the basement of the home and called 911 at 10 p.m., Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

In the 911 call, the brother told a dispatcher he was at a driver’s education class and his mother never picked him up.

He told the dispatcher that after he got home, he found his mother and brother on the floor bleeding, with a gun between them.

“I’m going to touch my mom to see if her heart is beating. Can I do that?” the brother said to the dispatcher, the latter of whom was busy sending police to the scene.

The brother also told the dispatcher his brother was still breathing and moving his arm.


Law enforcement investigation

Leeland died in a Cleveland hospital at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sigsworth said. 

Sigsworth said initial signs point to the case being a murder-suicide committed by Leeland, but the investigation is active and ongoing.

“There’s no indication at this time of the involvement of any other person,” Sigsworth said.

Deputies have been dispatched to the home numerous times in the past.

“We’ve responded there on a number of different occasions regarding unruly child complaints or family disputes,” Sigsworth said.

The home had a surveillance system that might have captured what happened immediately preceding the gunfire.

“We are attempting to access any video recording that may have been on the system,” Sigsworth said.

Huron City Schools made a Facebook post on Wednesday regarding the incident:

“We are deeply saddened upon hearing the tragic news involving one of our school families last evening. Counselors will be available in the High School Tiger Union for any student, staff or community members wishing to come and talk.”

Sigsworth said further updates will be released when they become available.

Multiple organizations, including Firelands Regional Medical Center, Bayshore Counseling and Huron Schools’ own counselors, contributed to the at-school counseling effort, Huron Schools superintendent Dennis Muratori said. Muratori said counseling services might continue in the future.

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