The mother of the three children — all of whom appear to be under 5 years old — is also missing, police said, after spotting her car and pairs of children’s shoes near Vadnais Lake, which sits just north of St. Paul.
“We do not know yet where their mother is, but we’re treating this as a potential triple homicide,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said Friday during a news conference.
Authorities believe those possible homicides are related to a suicide that was reported earlier Friday around 10:30 a.m. local time. First responders arrived at a residence in nearby Maplewood and found a man deceased, Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said.
Police say they responded to the lake at around 4 p.m. yet didn’t elaborate on how the two incidents are related, adding that both investigations are ongoing.
“This is just a tragic event, and our hearts go out to the family members and the friends involved in this incident,” Steiner said.
Late Friday, water patrol and dive teams were actively searching using drones and other resources, and the efforts have been challenging during the dark hours, Fletcher added.
“It is possible that one of the children is in the woods or some other place, but the likelihood is decreasing as time goes by,” Fletcher said.