Father kills twin daughters in bitter custody battle

5:54 AM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A local mother who begged the court system for help was turned away.  In the midst of a contentious custody battle, she feared for the safety of her daughters. Similar cases are playing out across the country.

A videotape shows the two girls and their father. Only in retrospect is the videotape utterly chilling. It's the voice of a father with his little girls.

"They adored him. He was the fun Daddy," said their mother, Kristi. 

That day, Rob King bought each of his twin daughters a fish, signed them up for swim lessons and gave them a bath. Hours later, he pumped carbon monoxide into their bedroom and slit their throats.

"And I was too late....I went and knocked on the door and the carbon monoxide detector was going off. And at that moment, I knew they were dead. Because they hated noise," remembered Kristi.

Rob King killed himself that same night.

Rob and Kristi were in the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle. Kristi had offered joint custody of the three-year-olds. Rob wanted the girls to himself.

Kristi told us, "If it wasn't his way, it was no way."

In the months leading up to the murders, Kristi says her estranged husband's behavior grew increasingly erratic. She pleaded with a court-appointed mediator to push for an emergency hearing.

"She said he didn't qualify because he hadn't been diagnosed with anything. Despite the every ten minute texting, the shoplifting," recalled Kristi.

Kristi says she was told there was no appointment available for a psychiatric evaluation for several months.

"I told the mediator he looks at porn," said Kristi. "None of them would help."

Sadly, Kristi's case is not unique. In a recent two-year period, the Center for Judicial Excellence tracked news reports that indicated fathers killed their own children in more than 100 cases related to custody and visitation disputes.

"I sent my lawyer and the guardian ad litem pictures of them in their casket," said Kristi. "I was angry."

Kristi is speaking now, despite her infinite grief, in hopes that family courts will listen closely to parents who express fear for their children's safety.

She said, "When I show you a text that says 'I'm gonna make sure all your children are taken from you,' you need to listen."

Today, the matching pink tricycles are parked for good, the laughter of two little girls silenced.

"My thought was that he would kidnap them. I didn't think he would kill them," shared Kristi.

Kristi now collects angels, since her two are gone." She told us, "This is hell. This isn't life."

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