A Colorado Springs mother and her toddler were found dead Friday in a murder-suicide in Rocky Mountain National Park, officials in Larimer County confirmed Monday.
Park rangers found the bodies of Tristen Watson, 24, and her 17-month-old son, Christopher, on the Beaver Meadow Trail on Friday afternoon while investigating a report of a "suicidal subject." Officials closed entrances to the park while they searched for the mother and child.
Rangers found Watson's vehicle near Upper Beaver Meadows Road, the news release said.
After autopsies Monday, the Larimer County Coroner's Office ruled that Tristen’s death was a suicide and Christopher's death was a homicide. Mother and son suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the head, the agency said.
An online obituary also lists the death of Aspen Ann Watson, presumably the unborn daughter Watson was expecting in June, which she announced on her Facebook page.
Mourners on Facebook expressed shock and grief at the deaths.
"Forever," one commented. "Forever in our hearts."
The social media site portrays a happy mother and smiling son as they visit a dinosaur museum and pose in winter clothing.
Tristen is survived by her husband Derrick Watson. According to Tristen’s Facebook page they were married in April 2017. Both are from Covington, La., north of New Orleans.
Derrick Watson took to Facebook Monday saying "It should never end like this."
“I have been trying to find the words, but I simply have no words for the pain that this family is going through right now," he wrote. "Three lives taken far to soon... if you are struggling or know someone that is, please reach out to them."
The family asked that memorial donations be made to Louisiana branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which can be found online at https://namisttammany.org/donate.
"If they are unwilling themselves, seek the help they need for them, make them get the help," Derrick Watson wrote. "It should never end like this. The burden passed onto others is far greater than any burden you may be facing.”