A rural area

It is a small rural area. Ranches, animals and a smattering of people. The community is described as having a population of about 650. They hadn't had a murder in 20 years. Now that has all changed.

The family rented a home on the ranch where the father worked. The children were described as polite and well mannered, and were being home-schooled. The ranch owner has reported there didn't appear to be any trouble.

Police came to the home for what they are calling a "child welfare check". What they found were the bodies of Erin Parkhurst, his wife, Lisa, and sons Trinity, 9, and Lane, 11. It is believed that Erin shot his wife and kids and then shot himself. It is believed the deaths occurred Sun. or Mon.




Again, I have no clue what could have led to a man killing his whole family. I am curious as to what led up to the "child welfare check". Was that a relative who called wanting to know why they were unable to make contact with family members? Or had they recieved a complaint about the welfare of the children?

I am not clear if the home was located on the ranch itself or if it was located in the small community. But, their contacts were probably pretty limited. The children were home schooled, the employer and the landlord were the same people, so their circle was probably pretty limited. If their were problems in the home, most likely there would have been an attempt to keep them hidden from the employer/landord due to the importance of a good relationship there.

No matter how limited their close circle, this is the type of community that is unused to murder. To suddenly wake up and find 3 murders, two of which were children, and a suicide in their community, it is enough to throw a pall on the whole community. Those who knew the family, wondering if they should have made more effort with the famly, gotten to know them better. Those who may not have known them, wondering what happened, was there something that should have been seen and was missed?

Whenever there is a family murder/suicide I think it throws a scare into everyone. If it could happen in this home, and in other homes, could it- oh, surely, it couldn't happen in mine.

Every death reminds us of our own mortality. But the murder deaths of a family, can shake up all belief systems.


Thanks to Tina for the tip on this one.

A custody battle preceeded the murders. The father of the older child was awarded custody of Lane in Mar. of this year. At least part of the reasoning for the custody change was that the mother had been refusing to give the father his scheduled visitations. Also, Erin Parkhurst had had some problems with brushes with law enforcement with 12 arrests on his record.



Randomized Drivel has more information on the murder/suicide and the custody battle, and can be found here:




  1. Tina said,

    April 6, 2006 at 6:01 am

    A news report on omaha.com, says that the Parkhurst’s left a suicide note. It says the house was on the ranch where Erin was hired as a ranch hand. It also goes on to describe the long drawn out custody battle between Lisa and the older boy’s biological father — the biological father had recently won physical custody of Lane. Lisa picked the boy up for a visit last Friday night and was supposed to return him on Sunday. When they didn’t return, the father called for a welfare check where authorities found the gruesome scene.

    There’s more details at the link. You’ll have to register to read the entire article.

  2. April 6, 2006 at 7:44 am

    Great thanks, Tina, that helps a lot.
    So either after losing the custody battle, this may have been planned between both parents or the husband felt inadequate because he couldn’t give the wife what she wanted, and leading into his insecurities he decided to make sure they all stayed together. When will these people learn that in the afterlife, it is to be hoped that murderers and victims won’t come face to face?

  3. wendy gunelson said,

    April 24, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Do any of you know the Parkhurst family? Have any of you had the opportunity to spend any time at all with them? Let’s not throw rocks at glass houses.Please don’t assume that Erin’s”brush with the law” is related to this. This so called brush was back in 1986,or 1989. Have you ever talked in person to Erin, Lisa, Trinity or Lane? Trinity had some orthopedic issues and Erin always did his best to get him to the facility. Have you ever seen the look in Lane’s eyes when he talked to Erin and Lisa? Erin provided Lane with a home, Lane had chickens and cattle, they were happy boys,you don’t know

  4. April 24, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Wendy Gunelson, I am assuming you are either a relative or friend of the Parkhurst’s. Wrong of me to assume I know, but your comment led me to that conclusion. But let me say that if so, then I am sorry for your loss.
    Do you know why Lisa kept Lane from his father? Do you know what the objections were there? That part has bugged me some.
    Erin had evidently settled down some, as there is no mention of a recent record. But this is a very extreme way to settle a custody battle. Did any problems crop up while Lane was in his father’s custody?

  5. nebraska said,

    June 24, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    It was a very weird situation and if you dont know the people or where they were like me then dont talk about them

%d bloggers like this: