The ex-husband of former professional tennis player Stephanie Reece has killed himself and their two children in an apparent double murder-suicide.
On Friday, Sept. 21, Stephanie received a phone call from Zionsville Community Schools that both her children, 15-year old Harrison and 13-year old Shelby, had not shown up for school that day. Upon hearing that they were absent, Stephanie then tried to get in touch with the children and her ex-husband, Michael Hunn.
Stephanie and Michael shared custody of the two teens, who had been staying with their father at the time.
When she still heard nothing, Stephanie went over to Michael's house, but there was no answer at the door and the house was locked.
Stephanie then called the police, who entered the home located in Zionsville, Indiana at around 10:30 a.m. only to find a heartbreaking discovery. Harrison and Shelby were found dead in their beds, both victims of fatal gun shot wounds. Stephanie's ex, Michael, was also found dead. Police believe that he had killed the children while they were sleeping and then shot himself.
— TheSpreadit (@TheSpreadit) September 24, 2018
In an interview with PEOPLE, Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said, "I can’t even imagine first of all taking anybody’s life and secondly taking my own children’s life. It is unheard of. Clearly, somebody was not in the right state of mind when he pulled that trigger.”
He also added that Michael Hunn did not have a previous record of violent activity. It is not yet known at what time the murder-suicide occurred.
Despite multiple gun shots going off, there were no neighbors who had heard them, which is something Sheriff Nielsen says can happen in a rural community.
“It is not uncommon in our rural part of the county to hear gunshots but nobody heard anything."
Now, officers' main focus is trying to find a possible motive, including looking into Stephanie and Michael's divorce.
Stephanie Reece and Michael Hunn divorced in November of 2017 after 17 years of marriage, and according to Sheriff Nielsen, their split seemed to be amicable.
“My understanding is it wasn’t a very heated divorce and they were able to work together and in fact had seen each other recently at a tennis match. There was nothing that would have led them to believe this would happen. They were getting through this divorce that happened in November 2017 the best they could and trying to keep the kids out of it.”
Although Sheriff Nielsen says their divorce was amicable, the IndyStar paints a different picture. According to a report from the Indianapolis-based publication, Stephanie and Michael were involved in an ongoing custody battle.
Reece had filed a petition with the Boone County Superior Court back in December requesting that Michael's time with the children not only be reduced but also monitored for his blood alcohol level. In the petition, it's revealed that the children had told their grandmother that they had to be removed from the home due to their father's drinking, which affected his ability to care for them.
By April, the couple appeared to have reached a settlement. Michael agreed to use a mobile breathalyzer system during his time with the kids and pay weekly payments of child support. However, once summer came around, things became worse.
On Aug. 7, Reece had filed a petition to hold Hunn in contempt of court regarding child support payments, as well as extracurricular expenses and an MTA toll ticket. The hearing for that petition was scheduled for Sept. 28.
Before becoming the girls' tennis coach at Zionsville High School, Stephanie Reece was a professional tennis player who had competed at both Wimbledon and the US Open during the 1990's. She attended Indiana University and is in the university's Athletics Hall of Fame.
The superintendent of Zionsville Community Schools, Scott Robison, also released a statement on the tragic killings.
"Our entire school community grieves the loss of two students due to a tragedy at their home. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the children whose lives were lost, and we ask that you join us in respecting their family time to grieve."
Stephanie's friends, family, and community have come together to set up a GoFundMe page for the grieving mother in order to help ease the burden of upcoming expenses. They have raised $127,000 of their $150,000 goal at the time of this article.
"Our dear friend Stephanie Reece has suffered an unspeakable tragedy," the page's description reads. "She loved her children, Harrison and Shelby Hunn, with all her heart. Stephanie was the most dedicated and loving mother, and wanted the world for them."
"Stephanie is going to be faced with many expenses during the next several months. While we will never be able to bring her babies back, we would like to surround her with our love and support to help ease as much stress as possible."
A funeral service has been scheduled for Thursday of this week.
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and Michigan native who covers trending news, pop culture, crime and celebrity topics.