A family, a neighborhood, a community

Timothy Hayden and his wife Marilyn worked for the the same company. They had two children, Shawn Michael Hayden, 17, and Lindsay Rachelle Hayden, 15. As both were involved in school and athletics it was likely a busy household.

On Wed. sometime before 5:50 pm a neighbor had attempted to call someone in the household. When she didn’t get an answer, she went to the home and knocked on the door.

“We found somebody on the ground,” the caller said. “I think they’re dead! I saw somebody through the garage window. Just, please, just get the cops here!”

Police responded to the call and attempted entry to the home. However, all exits had been blocked with furniture and they had to force their way in. Inside they found the bodies of all four family members shot to death.

They also found a note from Timothy Hayden. Police have declined to disclose it’s contents or a motive. But they believe that Timothy shot all three family members then turned the gun on himself.

Shawn was described as cocky and funny. He told funny stories and was a funny person. He was a sophomore and played basketball and golf. Lindsay was described a sweetheart. She was a freshman and played basketball and softball. Both had a lot of friends. Even Timothy was described as a laid back person. Timothy and Marilyn were employed by the same company.

The family dog lived through the violence and has been taken to a local shelter. His name was ‘Promise’.




http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060511/NEWS/60511019/1001/ENT04               This article has an interesting history of mass murders in Iowa.

An active, friendly family. The neighbors are gathering and clinging to each other, trying to support each other and make sense of the incomprehensible.

A school of children, trying to cope with the tragic death of two of their own. They are receiving counseling at school. Yet even in the midst of their grief, I found a mention of their concern for the family dog, which had been put into a shelter. One has said that they will be OK. But they will have a struggle to go on, as each day that they attend school, they will be freshly reminded of the absence of two of their friends.

Their place of employment is providing counseling for their fellow employees. They lost not one, but two.

I have never mentioned before the police. They get called to the home, due to a suspected tragedy. They are the ones who must enter, who must physically face the decimation of a family which included two children with all of the attached gore, sense of loss, and grief all in the midst of a normal family home.

Even the most seasoned will often have problems with the death of a child. Yet they have a job to do and so must go on. Still  it takes a toll on them.  Someone must make arrangements for the removal of the family, investigation of the scene, locating and notifying relatives. Some of those officers likely have families out there and will likely find themselves thinking of them.

Somewhere is probably two families who are trying to cope with grief, and struggling to make arrangement for the respectful burial of a large chunk of their family. They will probably have to wait until after autopsies are done. They will find themselves wanting to pick up the phone and call the family, to share their grief- yet they know the family is not there. They will be struggling with the question why- and even though there was a note, that will not answer all of their questions.

The inexplicable loss of a family in such a tragic way touches us all. This wasn’t a ‘high risk’ family. This was a family much like what is found in millions of homes throughout the country. They had their triumphs and struggles. Their share of pain and joy. And always the sense of hope with the two outgoing children. All brought to an abrupt end.

I do not have the answers. I do not know why. There are many theories out there of why a man would kill his whole family and himself. But there is no answer to the big question so many wish to know……..why this family?



  1. Ethan Price said,

    July 9, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    I was surfing the internet and i came upon this website..

    I went to school with Lindsay and Shawn.. I talked to Lindsay everyday in health and science.. I also live roughly two blocks away from their home.. rather, their ex-home.. On that Tuesday, their last day of attending school at LeMars Community High School, Lindsay, I, and our surrounding classmates had a discussion about the Bomb Threat that had happened the Friday before.. On Lindsay’s last day in health class, she, along with the rest of the class, were able to witness the LeMars Poilce Department arrest two kids.. It was an exciting class that day. That Thursday at school.. it was very hard.. I remember comming in and seeing so many random adults.. they had near 50 adults lining the hallways incase anyone needed sombody to talk to. Also, they had the little theatre open for anyone to go there and just cry. There wasn’t a dry eye in the school that day. Students and Faculty Members alike, everybody was grieving. But what made it so much worse was.. In Science, Lindsay was orignionally in that class with us, but we were watching a news channel out of Sioux City. They were doing a report on it and we wanted to watch to see if anything new was found out becuase as of then we didn’t know what the contents of the note left by Timothy said.. Well, we were watching it. 20 students and one teacher. And all of a sudden, they showed a shot of the police carrying out the body bags.. with their new occupents.. So many classes were watching that channel then. It really really affected everybody..

    Alot has happened to our community. The bomb threat. The Haydens. And just a few weeks ago, the whole state of Iowa were informed that two girls that attend our school were abducted by a druggie, ex-sex offender… The whole state were looking for them. Everyone in LeMars was afraid and didn’t know if we could handle it if somthing would have happened to them.. It turns out they ran away with him.. but it really shocked the whole communtiy.

    Okay, now that I have bored you with this, I will get to the real reason why i decided to comment.

    In the second to last paragraph of the article about the Haydens, you spelled Lindsay’s name wrong.. you have an ‘e’ instead of an ‘a’…. ( LindsAy.. not LindsEy..) I know, i’m picky.. Sorry. Its just.. I’m touchy about stuff like that when it connects to my personal emotions.

    That tragic event really bamboozled the community.. The ones who found them, who lived right across the street from them, were really really close with the Haydens. As you could have seen in pictures on the Des Moines Register Website, there is a wooden post with the Hayden’s name, and each members name, and of course promise, on it.. There is a bear at the top… Their neighbors have that in their front yard now, right by a cross with each member of the familys name on it..

    It has been very tough for everyone in LeMars. The Haydens were loved by everyone. They’re terribly missed.. They were burried in Arizona, in their home town. We had a memorial service for them on the Saturday. We had it in the massive gym of the local YMCA. The bleachers and all of the chairs were full. I don’t know how many people were actually there, but i’ve heard it was near 1000…

    That was exactly two months ago on Monday, July 10th. May 10th will be a day everybody in LeMars will never forget.

    There was also a candle light vigil in front of their house that Wednesday. There was a little shrine in the front yard.. And in that, there was a stone with a quote on it that has stuck with everyone here in LeMars.

    It read:

    When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.

    And as everyone in LeMars has witnessed, that is so very true.

  2. July 9, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Ethan, thank you for telling me about the community response. It sounds like a wonderful community. I know that there are no words that really describe the horror of that day, yet you did an excellent job. I am sorry that this violence touched on you and your community. But unfortunately, violence does reach out an touch many, in different ways.
    It does sound as though your community has had a lot of excitement recently, kind of scary. I am glad the girls were brought home safe, that was very frightening. Hopefully, things will settle down now, and life will be more uneventful.
    As for you being picky, you are not. I make every effort to get the names correct. But sometimes I do make mistakes. And if the mistake is mine, as it was in this case, then I am more than happy to correct it. I know much it jars when the name is gotten wrong.
    I love the quote your community gave in the memorial. It is so true.

  3. Rachel Hoyt said,

    April 5, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I know that nearly four years have passed now and everyone is finally being able to move on, but I woke up this morning this morning thinking of that tragic day. I was a freshman with Lindsay and though we weren’t really good friends, I always got along well with her. I only had one class with her, English, and she sat right next to me. I remember I did not go to that class for 2 days.

    I remember the night I found out that the Haydens were gone. My mother came up to my room (which she never did) to tell me, but she didn’t have the story straight. I fell asleep crying that night for Linsday and her mother, but i felt some relief that Shawn was still alive but cried for him too, just imagining what he was going through and how he must feel.

    When I found out the next morning that there were no survivors, I was even more devasted. I felt disbelief, then rage, then pain. I felt for everyone who was close to the Haydens, and cried for and with them.

    I kept there pictures from the papers so i would never forget, not that i think i could. I still think about them, like this morning, and wonder, how could this happen?

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