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Mom shoots kids and family dog in bitter divorce and custody battle

Carola Arnau (Photo Source: Facebook/ Carola Arnau)

A bitter divorce and custody battle has led to a tragic double murder and suicide in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Early Tuesday morning at approximately 3:00 a.m., police responded to a fire at a residence. Inside the home, they found the bodies of Carola Arnau, 40, her 10-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.

Police are now saying Arnau shot her daughter multiple times in the head while she was sleeping and then shot her son multiple times in the body. The family dog was also shot and killed by the mentally disturbed mother. She then used an accelerant and set multiple fires around the residence and the detached garage her estranged husband was living in. After setting the fires, police say she shot herself in the head committing suicide. Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, the Lancaster County coroner, ruled the deaths of 40-year-old Carola Arnau and her two children a murder-suicide on Wednesday.

Arnau’s estranged husband and father of the children, Miguel Arnau, 45, was at work during the time of the murders and arson. He lived in the detached garage and shared custody of the children during the divorce proceedings.

Carola Arnau filed for divorce in February 2016 siding that their marriage was “irretrievably broken.” In 2017, she claimed her husband had inappropriate contact with their four-year-old son. The allegation was investigated by the Pennsylvania Department of Children and Youth Services and was dismissed as being unfound. Carola Arnau has been receiving mental health services recently and police are asking friends and family to come forward to describe her recent state of mind. Tragically, the gun and ammunition she used in the shootings were legally purchased this past Monday.


  1. Mastro63 on June 8, 2017 at 11:48 am

    She just had to say on the gun form that she had not been committed to a health care facility.

    A waiting period might have helped- maybe not-

  2. Chuck on June 8, 2017 at 11:57 am

    This scumbag “father” knew this fool had issues and left her alone to harm their kids. He should go to prison and get beaten to death!

    • The Power Broker on June 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      No one can predict that type degree of disturbing behavior. People snap and there’s no coming back. Tragic ish. Should have just killed herself selfish af!

      • Chuck on June 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        When one knows that his/her mate is mental, he/she should protect the kids. There’s no way I would have suspected this mental lady wouldn’t hurt the kids. It happens in the news too often. Google Andrea Yates.

        • The Power Broker on June 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

          I see male and females acting some degree of mental often when going through tough break ups…. I’m not dismissing that the Father should of been mindful… But again there is still no way to predict someone would act in such a deranged manner. Dad was living in the home albeit in the Garage… The man still has to work and we don’t know what kind of resources he had available to him….So what should he have done Chuck? Take the kids to work with him?

      • feliznavidad on June 9, 2017 at 9:16 am

        Fathers have no allies in the system. This outcome is more common than you would understand. False allegations of abuse are child abuse. This is not the first case I’ve read where a false accuser “loses” and then kills the child. We recently had such a case here in Allegheny County. The COURT should have recognized the False Allegations as abuse, and moved to protect the children AND the father from this mentally ill woman.

        • Chuck on June 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm

          Take the kids to work with him? Let’s have an intelligent convo; instead of you spewing words. He should have done the same thing that women do: file court charges to have primary custody of the kids & ask for visitation when they are with the mother. Women do it all the time; so, why can’t us men do it, too?

    • feliznavidad on June 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

      Fathers are routinely marginalized by the courts. Our attorney told us that if you “run a mother down” things will just go worse for you. Mothers still get sole or primary custody 95% of the time, based on US Census records. Of course, courts keep NO RECORDS of outcomes, so we really don’t know what they are doing directly.

  3. SpiceGirl on June 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    wait….this is crazy…..Killing these kids is starting to be the norm…smh…this is like the 3rd story like this I’ve read this week….Wait….that’s like 27 miles away from my home town….goes and makes a few calls………

  4. nosey rosy on June 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    this is senseless , what was he doing in the garage? and how bad can it get , the man was still at home just not in her bed . what did he do or not do during the time he moved out , was he dating? and that snapped her . did he beat her? what was she so hurt about ., if she was crazy the courts should have saw that ., if the man reported she was off her rocker the kids should of been moved , but due to him staying in the garage that made it hard to take them from her.. he needed to move away from that area and them applied for custody ,but again if she can go purchase a gun? that means she was mentally stable. sooooo what is the point

    • feliznavidad on June 9, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Of course, it’s the man’s fault.
      No. The problem is that the Courts never take notice of false allegations of abuse — but they are at least a symptom of delusional thinking. They are also illegal. But never in Pennsylvania are mothers fined and/or treated — the lies are simply ignored.

      • Chuck on June 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        It’s both of the parents’ fault. The father is not innocent.

    • Chuck on June 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      I agree with you, 100%.

  5. AND THEN THERE WAS ONE!!? on June 10, 2017 at 7:41 am