Kids don’t deserve that

On Monday the family of Trevor Branscum spent the evening setting off fireworks in their yard. Neighbors say they seemed to be a happy family, and were not known for arguments. Both Amanda and Trevor Branscum were thought of as good parents.

As one neighbor said “kids don’t deserve that”.

But there was an argument that evening.  Reports indicate that Amanda Branscum was seen in a store early on Tuesday, just after midnight, when her husband followed her in and an argument began. The couple left the store and as Amanda Trimble Branscum tried to drive away, Trevor Branscum was seen diving into the van through an open window.

Police were called, and as they were searching for the van, another call came in.

Amanda Trimble says she left the home with a female friend, due to the argument. She returned after about an hour. And she says when she returned she saw her husband’s body when she went to the door, but she didn’t enter.

Police responding to the call found the couple’s children. The twins, were found lying on the couch and the couple’s two other children were found in bedrooms. Police say that the children appeared to have been sleeping at the time they were shot.

Police say that the 5 year old twins Taylor Branscum and Alyssa Branscum and their older siblings Aubrie Branscum, 12, Jacob Branscum, 10, all died from a gunshot wound to the head, two of the children were reported to have been shot at close range. Police say that the weapon was a hunting rifle, and that it would have had to be reloaded after each shot. Trevor Branscum, 38, was reported to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was found lying on top of the suspected murder weapon.  

Police say the couple had lived in the home for the last 3 years and there were no reports of domestic violence.

Yesterday was the 4 th of July. And as I stood in my backyard watching as neighbors set off fireworks, I thought of this family.

I remembered past July 4 ths, when my children were young. How they loved the fireworks and would watch and wait for each explosion to go off. And how they would smile and jump if one firework caught them off guard.

And how when they were older, they would watch the fireworks no less raptly, yet pretending to be blase. How we all enjoyed the fireworks. And how I enjoyed watching them.

This family had pretty much the same type of evening. Yet within a few short hours, there were more sinister fireworks in their home. Aim at a child and shoot then reload, aim at a child then shoot and reload, aim at a child then shoot then reload, aim at a child and shoot then reload till they are all dead. Then the final shots to himself. No matter how angry at a spouse they might be how could any parent do this? And why the children?

The family says they believe it was done to punish the wife.


Some of the children in the area released balloons, in a memorial/counseling session to help them cope with the loss of their friends. This occurred on the same day the children were being buried.

The father is being buried separately from the children.



  1. Eric W. said,

    August 20, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for having the site. Amanda is my sister in law and when I came across this site I nearly broke down again reading about the details. My wife and 2 sons are currently in counseling dealing with this, I only pray it helps them.

  2. August 20, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    Eric, I am very sorry for your loss. It was a tragedy that never should have happened. You said you ‘nearly’ broke down. It is okay to cry you know. You lost part of your family in a very horrendous way, even men cry about that.
    I hope your wife and kids are doing better. It is hard. And the first year is the hardest. As time goes by, you sort of get used to their absence, it doesn’t get any easier you just get used to it. Counseling will help, and so will time.
    I would ask how Amanda is doing, but I know that is a stupid question. She probably doesn’t know how she is doing yet. It will take time, but it will get a little better if not easier.

  3. Micheal A Eliason said,

    June 16, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Jacob was my best friend.I met him in the third when i moved here in gustine.As the years went by i got to know him better and thenwe became best friends…I sent the night at his house nearly every weekened,but we switched off we weekened….I was awake the night Jacob,aubrie and the twins where shot…and i was told by an officer that Trevor smothered Jacob and aubrie befor he shot the twins and themselves….i was helping my mother get our dinner ready for the 4th of july went i suddenly here sound that didnt sound like fire works…And the after that i had an odd feeling inside me like someone that was family had died,and then i started to cry…….That morning i was woke up by my lil brother and he was crying and he said “Mike you gotta get up jake aubrie and the twins are dead”,i thoght he was joking so i went back to sleep….an hour later my father came and shook me and told me i needed to come out to the garage cause he told me he had to tell me somthing.So i went out into the garage and he told me to sit down.while i was sitting i noticed my mother sister and brother were all crying.So i asked my dad why were they crying.he said “mike,jake aubrie and the twins are all dead.”,I thought he was joking so i said he was lying then he said “No mike im no lying Jake,Aubrir and the twins are dead”. then i started to cry…..I ran into my bedroom grabed a shirt and i was going to run down to his house but then my mom grabed me and held me and we both cried……An hour later my dad took me over to his house and thats when i saw the police and courners office there in front of his house….And as i watched i saw 4 black bag put into the courners office vans….I fell to my knees crying cause i had just lost my best friend…..And i cant belive this will be the third year he has been dead.

    To this day i regret not asking him to stay the night at my house.And all of what i have just written is the truth from me.Just send me a message if you dont belive that i was and still am his best friend just message me.

  4. June 17, 2008 at 5:16 am

    Michael, I do believe you were and are Jacob’s best friend. And I can tell from the way you talk about him that the two of you had fun together. I am so sorry for what happened to your friend. But I am very glad that you weren’t staying with him that night. And I am very glad that he had a good friend who will always remember him.

  5. family tragedy said,

    July 2, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    It’s been almost two years since this horrific tragedy took place. I just want everyone to know that members of all families were devistated by what transpired on that fateful morning. I am an extended family member of the father who did the unthinkable. There is not and will never be a good or acceptable reason for what happened and nothing or no one can make it ok.What most people dont realize is that this person had a problem with depression and was probably bi-polar. This does not excuse what he did but may give people a little more info on what they don’t know.We all grieve daily and pray that Amanda and her family will eventually come to find some peace. Please know that we all lost the same kids,as well as a son,grandson,brother,cousin,nephew who we know loved his children dearly and we never would have believed was capable of this.By reaching out to others our grief and pain can be healed somewhat,share the love you feel for this family with others who loved them as well .and try not to judge. We all know as well as Amanda’s family that this will never go away.. and we will never forget,but forgiving is something you do to heal yourself,and by forgiving you free yourself to open up to the love that is all around you, and forgiving does not mean forgetting or condoning.

  6. jill vickrey clement said,

    January 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Hi, im trying to locate trevors sisters, Pam or Carrie? last contact i had was 1981 or so, we grew up together

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