Two deaths being investigated in Burwell, Nebraska have been ruled a homicide and a suicide, according to Garfield County Attorney Dale Crandall. Preliminary autopsy results confirm that Christopher Melling, age 31, and daughter Aimee Melling, who would have celebrated her third birthday this Sunday, January 12, died as the result of head wounds inflicted by a shotgun at the family home located at 624 E Street in Burwell. Investigators believe that Aimee died at the hand of her father, who then took his own life.
Christopher Melling's last known activities appear to have been on Saturday, January 4. The deaths are believed to have occurred sometime between Saturday night and Tuesday morning. Officials have been unable to determine the exact date and time of the shootings.
The bodies of the deceased were discovered Tuesday afternoon, after police gained entry into the home through a window of the locked residence in response to neighbors' concern that there had been no recent activity at the home, and lights had been left on.
The deaths followed a reported disturbance on Friday, January 3, when Christopher's wife Tammy Melling, age 33, was arrested by Burwell Police and booked into the Valley County jail on domestic assault charges. At the time, Christopher complained that his
wife threatened and struck him in the course of an extended argument. The incident is being included in the current investigation. No formal charges have been filed, and at this time, investigators do not consider Tammy Melling a suspect in the deaths of her
husband and daughter.
Nebraska State Patrol investigators are heading the inquiry into the deaths and surrounding circumstances, with full cooperation and assistance from Burwell Police and the Garfield County Sheriffs' Office.