Mother stabs to death her 12-year-old daughter, husband and then herself

  • Tragic couple: Tim and Toni Hindman pictured with their daughter Ardena before Toni stabbed them all to death and set the house on fire

    Depressed mother had lost her daughter to cancer in 2005 She bought a six-inch hunting knife day before killing Firefighters found bodies after tackling blaze at family home
    A mother suffering from depression stabbed her husband and their 12-year-old daughter to death before killing herself and setting the family's house on fire.
    The bodies of Toni and Tim Hindman and young Ardena were found in different rooms at their home in the rural village of Ithaca, Saunders County, Nebraska.
    The Hindmans lost their younger daughter Jessica in 2005 to cancer.
    Just a day earlier Mrs Hindman had bought a six-inch hunting knife and researched depression medication and suicide on the internet.
    Firefighters made the tragic discovery when they were called to the blaze at the family's two-storey house which had been started by 45-year-old Mrs Hindman.
    A passerby noticed the flames and called 911.
    The family computer survived the fire and revealed Mrs Hindman's internet search history.
    Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff said: 'We know she bought the knife and made those computer searches. Those two pieces of information were crucial in helping us piece this [incident] together.
    'We do not know why she did it, and we will probably never know why she did it.'
    Mr Hindman, a 47-year-old engineer, was found dead in his first-floor bedroom and Ardena's body was in her room. Both were dressed in night clothes.
    Mrs Hindman, who had a degree in psychology, started the February 20 blaze on the stairwell leading to the bedrooms before taking her own life.
    She had worked as a psychiatric nurse but eventually became a stay-at-home mom
    Her body was discovered in the living room. The knife was found nearby.
    She had struggled with depression after the death from cancer of their three-year-old daughter Jessica in 2005, family members told investigators.
    In the first few years of her life, Jessica contracted neuroblastoma, a cancer which is most commonly found in infants in one of the adrenal glands, but can also develop in nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis.
    Tingelhoff said: ' The family talked about her fight with depression but still, they were shocked by this outcome.'
    He described the tragedy as an 'horrific experience' for people in Saunders County.
    Tingelhoff added: 'It's an extremely tragic any time you deal with the loss of a child. It's been tough on everybody.'
    County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz said: 'A review of the evidence pointed directly to self-inflicted wounds on Toni. We know that Toni was the last one to die.'
    Death scene: The rural home in Ithaca, Nebraska, where the bodies of Tim and Tony Hindman and their 12-year-old daughter Ardena were found
  • The Hindmans had been married for 14 years, most of which they lived in Lincoln, though it had been an ambition of theirs to move to a farm.
    Friends described it as a 'dream come true' for the family when they moved to an acreage in Itheca last year.
    They were also said to be keen to send Ardena to a smaller school.

    The 11-year-old was already a popular girl at school and was involved in band, choir and drama club. She played the French horn and the piano.
    The family had integrated themselves fully into the new community and both volunteered in a lot of church activities as well as singing in the choir.
    Friends described Mr Hindman as a man who was 'devoted to his faith, his family, his work and his community' whereas Mrs Hindman was the 'go to' girl for any errand needed by various neighbours and friends.
    She worked at Lincoln Regional Centre as a Psychiatric Technician in the adolescent programme after she graduated in 1987 and then was promoted to a Human Services Treatment Specialist in the Community Transition Program.
    But she left when she had her daughter Jessica and devoted her time and effort into helping her fight her courageous battle with cancer until her death in 2005.
    Loving: Ardena cuddles her little sister Jessica who died at three-years-old

    At a funeral mass last week in Mr Hindman's home town of Rushville, a light-blue casket stood before the altar flanked by two grey ones.
    The Reverend John Sullivan, who new the family for ten years, described them warmly at the memorial.
    'They were people of faith, people of generosity and people of love,' Sullivan said, and recounted a story about the couple secretly paying a needy student's tuition after Jessica had died.
    'They helped so many people in so many ways,' Sullivan added. 'They weren't out to save the world, but they just wanted to take care of one person.
    'Do not concern yourselves with how they died, but concern yourselves with how they lived.'
    A second funeral Mass for the Hindmans will be held on Saturday at 10am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Rushville.

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