Saturday, February 21, 2015

Three dead in murder/suicide in Maumelle

Posted By on Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 6:21 AM

click to enlarge IN FLAMES: Neighbors captured a photo of the Wilbanks home in flames Friday night. - KARK
  • KARK
  • IN FLAMES: Neighbors captured a photo of the Wilbanks home in flames Friday night.
click to enlarge screen_shot_2015-02-21_at_6.16.18_am.png

The Maumelle Police Department this morning said three people were found dead of gunshot wounds, along with two dogs, in a burning house at 151 Auriel Circle.

Spokesman Jim Hansard said the case is being viewed as a murder-suicide, though he has not said who was responsible.

The dead: James Wilbanks, 41; Tatiana Wilbanks, 27, and Elizabeth Wilbanks, 31, all of 151 Auriel Circle. The Democrat-Gazette says Tatiana Wilbanks was James Wilbanks' wife and Elizabeth Wilbanks his sister.

The police report:

On 2/20/15 at 9:55 P.M. Maumelle Fire fighters were dispatched to a structure fire at 151 Auriel Circle in Maumelle. Maumelle Police also responded to that scene to help with traffic control. The fire fighters, upon first entering the residence through the front door, discovered an unconscious female lying on the floor. They pulled her out to the front porch and a Maumelle Police Officer then assisted in removing her further from the house and into the front yard. He immediately observed that she had an apparent gunshot wound to her forehead and was dead. Fire fighters discovered an additional adult female in a bedroom, also with a gunshot wound and also deceased, as well as an adult male in the living room. He also had an apparent gunshot wound to the head and was deceased. Two dogs were also found inside the residence, both shot and both deceased. The home was significantly damaged due to the fire.

Maumelle Police are investigating this case and the investigation is ongoing. The initial findings indicate an apparent arson, murder/suicide.

Wilbanks was an assistant professor of management at UALR, KARK has confirmed. A Google search shows he'd presented an academic paper with Tatiana Wilbanks on at least one occasion, examining entrepreneurial motivation and gender.

A Facebook friend of Wilbanks tells me that he'd talk with friends who were with the family earlier Friday night and all seemed normal. "James was kind, brilliant - grounded," he said. He said Wilbanks and his wife took care of Wilbanks sister.

The death of Wilbanks' wife, also known as Tanywa, was referenced on her mother's Facebook page later. She wrote:

It is with immeasurable grief and sadness that we share the news that our eldest daughter, Tanya, was the victim of a violent crime and died Friday night. We are reeling with grief, pain, and disbelief. We beg for your prayers. For those of you who have called or messaged - we are unable to share details at this time, and are finding it difficult both emotionally and logistically to answer each of you. We are so sorry. Please know that your prayers and expressions of concern are fueling us through this nightmare. 

click to enlarge JAMES WILBANKS - UALR
  • UALR

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