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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The daughter of the man police hold responsible for a multiple murder-suicide in a Montana log cabin said her father had long been in denial about having mental health problems, which ultimately became dangerous.

“People tried to tell him he needed to get help,” 35-year-old Starla Shannon said Wednesday. “He said he’d rather go to a vet than a doctor.”

Police say Augustine “Mike” Bournes shot his wife and their three young children in the head before setting fire to their rural home and shooting himself Sunday.

Shannon, of Aztec, New Mexico, said she believed her father loved his family, even though he had cut off communication with relatives and friends years ago.

Interviews with Shannon, Bournes’ ex-wife of 33 years, Darla Schuppan, and acquaintances and authorities in southwestern Montana tell the story of a man with anti-government views who killed his family and himself after calling someone he knew to say that his wife, Arie Arlynn Lee, had been “mocking and riding him all day.”

Bournes lay down next to his children’s bodies, which he had lined up together on a bed, before killing himself, Anaconda-Deer Lodge police say.

His daughter said he had realized a dream by building a log cabin and moving to Montana with Lee and their children.

Bournes and Lee met at a doughnut shop where she worked in southeastern Arizona, Shannon said. Her father would help Lee make morning deliveries, and the two started dating sometime after 2007.

The couple later drove a semitrailer across the country for work, but once they started having kids, the truck got cramped, and the family moved to Montana, Shannon said.

“Arie made my dad happy, and I know he made her happy — at least some of the time,” she said, adding that she and Lee had become friends.

Bournes worked odd jobs to support the couple’s three children, 5-year-old Augustine, 4-year-old Woodrow and 1-year-old Arie.

He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, but he also carried an anti-government streak that his ex-wife said stemmed from a run-in with the law 20 years ago.

Bournes had used a bulldozer to block in someone who had been driving across his New Mexico property, and he was charged with false imprisonment and aggravated assault, Schuppan said.

He was acquitted, but “the incident on the mountain really turned him sour against the government,” Schuppan said. “He felt like things were unfair.”

His daughter said his negative feelings lingered. “He fought for freedom and took it very seriously, Shannon said. “But he was not happy with how the world is today.”

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(Photo Source: AP)

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17 thoughts on “Daughter Says Dad Was in Denial Before Murder-Suicide

  1. It was a tragic mistake to shut down our large state mental hospitals during the 80s and 90s, like Dorothea Dix in Raleigh and St. Elizabeth’s in Washington, DC. Way too many mentally ill, homeless people dumped into our streets with NO help to speak of. Many are dead of AIDS, violence, and drug ODs. I just called 911 an hour ago for an young woman age 34 who overdosed at the corner of Owens and Main Street while I was talking with her.
    I understand why many people hate the government, I have a number of complaints about the IRS, the DC food stamp office, the Social Security Disability process, and our own US Congress, which writes the federal tax code and makes all the rules which federal agencies must follow. But I don’t own a gun, and try to fight my battles by writing letters to public officials and using attorneys. It takes a long time, but sometimes justice does happen, if you are persistent and stand up for your rights.

  2. kandy_girl73 on said:

    The picture is of the wife he killed Arie Arlynn Lee along with their kids. The daughter that the article refers to is not pictured. Either way this is a very sad story…

  3. Trekgirl107 on said:

    Okay you guys, here’s the deal— The picture above is of the man’s DAUGHTER. The article says that they interviewed the daughter, (pictured above) his X-wife of 33 years, (presumably the daughter’s mother) and other people. Punctuation is the key, folks– you’re all special!!

  4. Mental Illness is never addressed and it takes something like this to happen before we will start a new dialogue and then do nothing and forget about those that need the most assistance in our society.

  5. This is a tragedy regardless of the white on white, black on black, black on white or white on black crime stats. The lady pictured above was his current wife Arie Arlynn Lee. Starla Shannon is his daughter from his first marriage to Darla.

  6. knmos on said:

    The ex-wife that they interviewed is the one he was married to for 33 yrs not the one he killed. It clearly says that in the article

    • specialt757 on said:

      How do you know that picture is of his wife and not older daughter Starla who is 35 y.o which is about how old she looks? He was married to the wife he killed for 33 years, the lady in the pictures hardly looks that old. And yes, you got it right I am special thank you.

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