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4-Year-Old Finds Family Dead, Uses Grandfather's Phone to Call for Help

A 4-year-old California girl found her parents and grandfather dead on Thursday and used her grandfather's cell phone to call her grandmother for help. Police suspect the girl's father of killing her mother and grandfather before turning the gun on himself.

marie leonetti
(Photo: Facebook/Marie Leonetti)

According to the Sacramento Bee, the Amador County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call just after 3 a.m. Thursday from a 60-year-old woman who reported her son's suicide at her home in Pine Grove. When police arrived at the home, they found the bodies of 26-year-old Jacob Jedidiah Thayer, 27-year-old-Marie Ann Leonetti and 60-year-old Richard Roger Thayer II.

Thayer's mother left the home hours earlier to be with another family member. Before 3 a.m., she received a phone call from her 4-year-old granddaughter, who said her father shot himself, the Sheriff's Office said. The 60-year-old woman then drove back home, where she found the three bodies.

A family friend told KCRA that the girl did not witness the shooting.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Richard and Leonetti were shot multiple times. Thayer suffered one gunshot wound, leading officials to believe that it was a self-inflicted wound. Deputies found Thayer's Glock .40 caliber pistol next to his body. It was registered in his name.

PEOPLE Magazine reports that a GoFundMe page was created by a family member to help the 4-year-old child. The fund has raised just over $4,000 in its first two days. The money will go into a college fund for the little girl.

"It is with great sadness to have to open this gofundme, however we received devastating news April 12th about my cousin, Marie Leonetti, having been involved in a tragic incident," wrote Kandi Thompson, who created the GoFundMe page. "She was killed by her boyfriend who then killed his dad and in turn took his own life. Such a horrific event that no one could have predicted."

“I hope (the 4-year-old) remembers her mom and how much her mom loved her," Leonett's cousin, Amanda Gold, told KCRA. "If she remembers anything of her mom, I hope it’s that.”

“I feel like if (Jacob Thayer) called me and was going through that, (Leonetti would) still be here," family friend Brandy Scott told the NBC affiliate. "But, you can’t control other people’s thought process.”


The Sheriff's Office said an investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: Facebook / Marie Ann Leonetti