A family of four that lived for several years in Mint Hill is dead, and police in Michigan say they believe it was a case of murder-suicide that also took the life of an innocent motorist.
Dead are Michael Vanderlinden, 38, and his wife Linda, 34, along with their children, Julien, 7, and Matthew, 4. They lived in Van Buren Township, Mich., outside Detroit, where they had moved three years ago from Mint Hill.
The family moved from Michigan to Mint Hill about seven years ago, living in a neighborhood off N.C. 218 for several years before returning to Michigan in 2009.
The Indiana State Patrol says Michael Vanderlinden was killed in a head-on crash about 1 a.m. last Thursday on Interstate 94, near Michigan City, Ind. Troopers say Vanderlinden was driving the wrong way, and they say witnesses reported his car lights were off. The other driver, Juan Nelson, 45, of Portage, Ind., also died in the fiery crash.
When police in Michigan went to contact Vanderlindens wife, they found her dead -- along with the children. Police in Van Buren Township said Linda Vanderlinden had been stabbed and choked, and the children had been stabbed.
Investigators say they believe Michael Vanderlinden, who they say was being treated for depression, killed his wife and family and then committed suicide by vehicle. Police say Michael Vanderlinden had tried to commit suicide last November, and that he was in the process of moving out of the familys home.
According to friends in Mint Hill, the family moved to North Carolina after Michael Vanderlinden lost his job in Michigan. He worked in information technology.