“You know your daughters would never be better off without you,” Mitchell recalls. “Even if the worst came to the worst and he got full custody, they still won’t get better without you.”
According to Mitchell, Boudreau Deegan replied, “Oh, I would never leave my daughters.”
Two days later, after Mitchell hadn’t seen the family for 24 hours, he walked up the two flights of stairs to Boudreau Deegan’s bedroom. He opened her door, still adorned with the crumpled blue paper hearts his daughters had made for her, and found her dead, her and her twins.
“My mind has gone to a billion different places,” he recently told The Daily Beast. “I practically lost him for a while. I ran down because I knew they were all gone.
« I don’t know what could be a factor in killing your two 7 year old daughters no matter what factors are happening in your life.«
– Sheriff Bill Elfo
Mitchell, 63, would later learn from police that she believed that the night before, Boudreau Deegan had seduced her daughters and then used a handgun to shoot the two, before lighting it herself .
Conversations with Boudreau Deegan’s friends and law enforcement paint a portrait of a woman facing a myriad of demons in the form of mental health issues, financial hardship that involved filing for bankruptcy and a battle. separation and custody of several years, according to some to fight for the future of his children.
“I know Michele couldn’t let go,” said Roxanna Valdovinos, 47, who had worked with Boudreau Deegan intermittently for several years from 2003 and then later started seeing her for her own therapy.
“You know at some point in a divorce and if he has another partner and everything and you don’t really agree with his parents, you kind of have to let it go and let your kids run around a certain risk, and have faith in God or in fate or something that things will be okay or that you will be there to help if it doesn’t, ”Valdovinos said.
“I think she lost that. She lost the belief that everything would be fine in the end, that he was a pretty good parent.
« He’s not a monster. This is the first thing I would say.«
– Friend and former patient
Several days after the incident, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying Boudreau Deegan was the sole suspect in the girls’ deaths and investigators determined that she had committed suicide. The office cited evidence at the scene, the results of the autopsy and the fact that the children were given a large amount of sedatives before being killed.
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo told The Daily Beast that detectives are investigating factors that may have motivated such acts. A recent court ruling involving shared custody appears to be a factor, while financial issues could also have played a role, he said.
But with the gruesome crime still hanging over this small Pacific Northwest town about an hour and a half north of Seattle, Sheriff Elfo added, “I don’t know what could be a factor in killing your two. 7 year olds. girls, whatever factors are happening in your life. ”
This is not the first time that a case like this has rocked the region. In 2012, Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons when he set fire to his house in Pierce County, Washington. He had been in a custody fight with the parents of his late wife, whom he was also suspected of having killed, according to reports from The Associated Press.
Every night, Mitchell said, he remembered Boudreau Deegan telling stories to his daughters – one of whom, according to court records, had special needs – and singing to them as they fell asleep. The walls of their room were filled with butterflies and fairies, and words like “Peace” and “Love” were spelled out with flowers, and when the lights were out, a machine was throwing stars on their ceiling.
“She lived for her two little daughters,” said Mitchell, who had been with the family for just over a year. “It was all about these little girls. She was determined that their life would be better than hers.
But in the months leading up to their deaths, Mitchell said, he noticed Boudreau Deegan was not taking care of herself. He remembered that she didn’t fall asleep until the early hours of the morning and then, due to her chronic lower back pain, spent long periods of the day in bed. She often ate only one meal a day, which was sometimes ice cream.
Boudreau Deegan was seeing his own therapist, according to Mitchell. But for several reasons, including the fact that Boudreau Deegan’s insurance did not cover the sessions, they did not meet often.
Deb Slater, spokesperson for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, said in an email that deputies responded once last year at Boudreau Deegan’s home. On July 11, 2020, they carried out a social assistance check, following a request from her husband. “The check did not require a report,” Slated said. “The case has been closed.”
Boudreau Deegan had an active license as a mental health counselor, according to the Washington State Department of Health. On her psychotherapy Facebook page, she described herself as working from a ’empowerment model’.
On the night of the tragedy, she published an article titled “Narcissistic Parents Literally Cannot Love Their Children.”
Boudreau Deegan’s family members, including her ex-husband and her own immediate relatives, all declined or did not respond to requests for comment. But on November 14, he posted on his Facebook page: “It really is a story rooted in mental illness and what a serious illness that can be. Michele was a loving mother and wife, and our family had years of beautiful love before mental illness began to creep into our lives.
Carmen Cabrera-Fuentes, 55, said she dated Boudreau Deegan for almost a year starting in August 2017 and lived with her for several months. She recalled having doubts about Boudreau Deegan’s parenthood, including her ability to be there for the twins.
“But I never thought she would hurt girls,” she told the Daily Beast. “This is the sad part. I loved Katie and Mairy, just like they were my children.
« She had completely devastated their entire life.«
– Mike Mitchell
Cabrera-Fuentes said she moved in October 2018 following an argument with Boudreau Deegan, who was upset that she bought the twin donuts. She said that at the time of Boudreau Deegan’s death, the therapist owed her a substantial sum of money.
Another Boudreau patient Deegan, who requested anonymity because she suffered domestic violence, said she saw her for a year about a decade ago and then continued to speak to her as that friend. She was flabbergasted when she found out what had happened.
“I think if she thought clearly, she never would have done something like that,” the former patient told The Daily Beast. “He’s not a monster. This is the first thing I would say. There is nothing about Michele that was a freak, or that you would think she was, like borderline personality disorder.
In March, court documents show Boudreau Deegan filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She estimated that she had between one and 49 creditors and her debts were mostly consumer debt.
But it wasn’t until the last month that its prospects seemed to have taken a hard hit.
She and her husband had been involved in a legal separation case for about four years. According to court records, on October 20, a parenting plan was put in place that involved children living with each parent on alternate days of the week. Boudreau Deegan was also granted decision-making regarding the girls’ education and health care, while the father would have access to all medical and educational information.
Mitchell said he received a text message after this decision from Boudreau Deegan: “I just lost everything.”
Three days later, police said, Boudreau Deegan killed herself and her children, an action they said appeared to have been planned over several days.
It is not clear exactly why she was so upset about a shared custody situation. But, Mitchell recalled, it seemed like “she had completely catastrophized their whole life.”
“She had a fairytale dream on one side and complete disaster on the other,” he said. “And it was one or the other. Black or white. “