Things seemed to be better

Brian Leingang, 33, and his wife 38 year-old Melissa Leingang had a new baby son. He recently told a neighbor how much that meant to him.

“They just had a new baby, Caden, he was the love of their life, brand new baby, things just seemed to be going okay.” “He had just told me that on Wednesday that he loved that baby more than anything and the baby had changed his life and he loved her and now they’re gone,”

At the time that was probably a relief to the neighbors because the same neighbor had this to say:

“I know there was previous abuse through the years, she just didn’t report it she was so quiet she just kept it all in and wouldn’t, she protected him and he isolated her from family and friends, there was never company there, it wasn’t a normal household.”

Around 8:45 Fri. night, police 911 dispatchers recieved two calls from out of state family members, saying there may be a problem in the home, and asking them to check on them. When police responded to the home, Leingang was at the home, and was placed under arrest when police discovered the bodies of Melissa and their 7 month old son Caden.

The autopsy report has not been released as yet, but there are indications that both may have been strangled.

http://www.ksfy.com/Stories/Story.cfm?SID=6588

http://www.ksfy.com/Stories/Story.cfm?SID=6595

A couple with a classic history of domestic abuse. The wife didn’t report. Isolation. Likely the couple was caught up in the “cycle”. For those who are unfamiliar with the “honeymoon cycle” of abuse, I found an excellent article here:

http://www.ucwesleyadelaide.org.au/domesticviolence/domestic_violence.htm

Basically, it consists of a violent episode, then a period of remorse, followed by a period of minimizing the abuse and assigning blame- the victim caused it, or it was the drugs or alcohol, then sometimes comes a period called the “honeymoon”. Things appear calm, there may be gifts and/or compliments. Both are hoping that things will be better. But then there will eventually come a period of tension building again, followed by another incident of abuse. In some households the cycle is quick, maybe only 24 hours. In some households, months may go by. We are taught from a young age, that when someone apologises we are to accept they apology. And an abuser can often be very good at apologies. They appear very sincere, and they always have reasons- excuses for their behavior. And they usually promise it will never happen again. So a person who loves them, will often want to believe that things can be different- after all they are “sorry” and they “didn’t mean to do it”.

After a while, when the victim is sufficienty in control, the “honeymoon” portion may almost disappear to the point a period of not abusing is the only sign of it left.

Often having a baby, becoming a “real” family is seen as a solution to the problem. What neither of them realize is that having a baby not only increases the stress on a relationship, it endangers the child also.

I found it interesting that the call for assistance came from a family member from out of state. There is no indication if this was her family member or his. Either way, there is family out there who cared for this couple and this baby. No matter whose family they were, they cared enough to make contact with the police. And they are likely hurting right now.

The neighborhood seems to be in shock. They knew of the history, but thought things were better. The second article I linked to about the story is the story of a domestic abuse survivor’s reaction to these murders. She has some excellent advice for victims in this situation, and her words should be remembered by anyone who finds themselves in this situation. If you are being abused, please read that article.

“Don’t let this happen to you, it’s hard but you gotta get out of the situation and get the help, there’s help out there, there’s places to protect you,”

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Thanks to Julie we have an update. Brian Leingang was found guilty but mentally ill in the murder of his wife and son. In June while in the South Dakota State Penitentiary he was found nonresponsive in his cell. Later he was pronounced dead.

argusleader.com  

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4 Comments

  1. Julie Dondoneau said,

    May 27, 2007 at 12:21 am

    What is even more sad to understand is the control that Brian had over Melissa and Melissa’s relationship with her daughter from her first marriage. She should have left him years ago, but for whatever reason that we’ll never know she stood by him rather than her own daughter. Only after the murders did Melissa’s family find out that Brian had molested her daughter when she was around 5 years old. He blamed the alcohol and that he’d never do it again. Brian’s family knew he had done this, because Melissa and her daughter would seek shelter from them when Brian was drinking or on meth. But still his family encouraged Melissa to stay with Brian. Fortuately Melissa’s daughter went to live with her father where she is safe today. But, for years the daughter had no contact with her mother who had taken Brian’s side. The biggest victim in this terrible situation is Melissa’s daughter. Her mother has been taken away from her twice by the same evil man and she has questions that will never be able to be answered.

  2. Julie Dondoneau said,

    July 5, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Poor Brian Leingang. He felt so sad that he had to go to prison. He was scared to be put into the general population prison system which he would have been placed in a few weeks. Knowing he was a child molester and a murderer of his wife and child he would have been a target for the other prisoners. Instead, on Father’s Day 2007, Brian couldn’t live without his family anymore (and whose fault was that??) he hung himself in his prison cell with his TV cord. The state of SD no longer has to pay for his stay. Brian Leingang chose to be a drug and alcohol abuser. He made the decision to take large doses of cough medicine which he even admitted gave him the same buzz he had when he was on meth. Instead of him asking for help or his sister warning Melissa of Brian’s strange behavior (she testified on the stand that she didn’t want to cause any more friction in the marriage than there already was) Instead they allowed Brian to misabuse a substance again and Missey and Caden were taken away from her family. People speak up if your family member is a loser like Brian Leingang was. Get them help. Get them help and don’t be afraid to cause friction in an already troubled relationship. It’s way better than having to live with yourself that you let your sister-in-law and nephew be killed by the hands of your angry drug induced brother.

  3. Lanette said,

    May 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    JULIE…YOU ARE SUCH A BITCH!!!!

  4. Lanette said,

    May 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    HOW DARE YOU BASTARDS PUT THIS BLAME ON ME!! WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU WHEN MEILSSA NEEDED YOU MOST…HUH?? DID YOU GUYS EVER COME DOWN THRU THE YEARS AND VISIT HER WHILE MARRIED TO THE OTHER SNAKE IN HER LIFE WHEN HE PUT HER THROUGH HELL TOO?? F’ NO!! YOU CAME TO SIOUX FALLS ONCE!!! WHERE THE HELL IS YOU GUYS FAMILY LOYALTY?? NOW CHUCK IS GONE…WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU WHEN HE WAS DYING?? YOU SELF ABSORBED ASSHOLES. GO TO HELL!!!!!


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