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Last updated on Sunday, March 17, 2013
(NEW ALBANY) - Officials in southern Indiana say two children found dead alongside their mother in a creek drowned, but the mother’s cause of death is still undetermined.
The Associated Press reports that the bodies of 35-year-old Jamie Clutter, 10-year-old Brandon Clutter and 6-month-old Katelyn Clutter were unclothed when found Wednesday evening in a New Albany creek, said Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson at a Friday news conference. A Bible was found near the creek along with a harness to carry a baby, WAVE-TV reported.
Henderson said no notes were left behind and there is no reason to believe a suspect is on the loose posing a threat to the public. All possible motives are being examined.
The Clutter family moved to New Albany from Washington state in December.
Greater Faith Church pastor J. Todd Nichols said the woman's husband, 47-year-old Michael Clutter, is shocked and devastated by the deaths. Clutter returned home from work Wednesday evening and found his wife and children missing but their car and apartment keys inside the unit, Nichols said.
Clutter's wife and kids were home before he left for work at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday, Nichols said.
"The mother was feeding the baby. His boy had heard them up and ran in there and wanted to tell his dad goodbye, he hugged him and kissed him," Nichols said. "The wife followed him to the door and he told her, 'Don't forget to lock the door.' They didn't live in a great neighborhood."
Michael Clutter is cooperating with investigators, Henderson said.
Nichols said he has known the family since July 2009 when they visited his church for an event ministering to poor communities in the area. For the next few years while the family was living in Washington, they would visit the Indiana church every six or seven months.
"They were wonderful people. I don't say that with any kind of embellishment," Nichols said. "In the three months that I pastored them, I never saw the husband and wife disagree."
Part of the family's motivation for moving to Indiana, where members of Michael's family also lives, was their desire to be part of Greater Faith Church, Nichols said. They would pray together in the sanctuary daily and usually attended two services on Sundays.
Nichols also said it was unusual for Jamie Clutter to leave their home without telling Michael where she was going.
"She had never done that before without calling or texting him letting him know that she's going to be gone for a while and where she's going," Nichols said.
Debbie Beach, the manager of Sheffield Square Apartments, the complex where the Clutters lived, said Friday that Jamie Clutter was a sweet person, a doting mother and very religious.
The 152-unit complex the Clutters moved into a few months ago is across the street from the park where the bodies were found. Beach said she had not spoken much to Michael Clutter.
"It's a very heart wrenching anytime someone is murdered, but obviously with children that's even more devastating," she said. "It's just a horrible tragedy and I've not ever had anything like that in 22 years, so it's just pretty devastating for everybody and hope they get it solved quickly."
New Albany is located about a mile from Louisville, Ky.
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