Thirty-five-year-old Cynthia Criss was the 1998 Central Nebraska Community Services Mother of the Year. Criss is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder of her three kids. Grand Island Police say Criss was arrested in Spalding a town about 60 miles north of Grand Island through an investigation involving Spalding police.
Authorities say last Tuesday Criss rented a storage unit in Grand Island and parked her car inside and left the engine running. At some point, Criss and her kids left Grand Island and drove back to Spalding to their home. Authorities say they were tipped off about the attempted suicide and murder days later when Criss's estranged husband checked on some pets at Cynthia Criss's home and found what appeared to be a suicide letter.
The letter, which was filed in the Criss's divorce petition says, "I'm going to end my pain, that hurts everyone and protect my babies from a life of neglect and drunks." The letter continued saying, "Again, I'm sorry to my family I just couldn't hold on any longer."
The letter prompted the investigation and the children were removed from Cynthia Criss custody and to their father's custody.
Friends of Criss's say suicide and murder are not traits associated with their friend "Cindy." Stacey Bauer says she's known Cindy for ten years and always did things for people and could bring out the best in people." Nancy Glesinger another friend says, "she loved cats and you would see her walking around with a cat on her shoulder. She was just an upbeat person."
Jeff Criss, Cindy's estranged husband says the children are fine. Cynthia "Cindy" Criss is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder in Hall County since that's where the crime occurred.