Neighbors near Carter’s Creek Pike in Columbia are in shock over a murder-suicide where investigators say a mother shot and killed her four children and then herself Monday.
“It’s just hard to fathom something like that could happen so close to home,” said neighbor Heather Wagner.
Wagner lives on Butler Road, less than a mile away from where investigators say Cynthia Collier killed her four children and herself inside their home.
“Everyone’s kind of in disbelief,” she said.
Wagner is a mother of two and says her children are around the same ages of the victims.
Sheriff Bucky Rowland identified the children as Bo Li, 14, Meigin Lin, 14, Lia Lin, 15, and Kaileigh Lin, 17.
Rowland says all four of the deceased children were adopted.
“It’s just hard to imagine that that could happen to children of that age,” Wagner said.
Eddie Hickman lives on Carter’s Creek Pike near the Collier’s home.
“We need to pray hard,” Hickman said. “We need to think about the survivors that’s left.”
Hickman described the family as quiet.
“It’s just one of those things you don’t think is going to happen,” he said.
Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles says not only has the tragedy shaken neighbors but the entire Maury County community.
“There’s a lot of angst and uncertainty and trying to figure out why and how this could happen,” Ogles said. “How could four children be taken all at once in such a violent fashion.”
Ogles says the next step is healing and shedding light on mental health.
“We’ll never fully understand what happened,” Ogles said. “But maybe we can learn from it, bringing awareness to mental illness.”
Ogles is planning a prayer vigil next week which will be held in the public square downtown Columbia.
A motive for the murder-suicide has not been released.