Neighbors stunned by shooting deaths of children, father

By Amy Tortolani & Carolyn Campbell / 11 News
08:11 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Investigators believe a north Harris County man was so distraught over a divorce and custody battle that he killed his two youngest children, then killed himself.

The incident occurred in the 2900 block of Blue Glen in north Harris County. When Leonard Hausenbauer's divorce was finalized last Friday, his wife won sole custody of their three children. Investigators say he killed two of them Saturday night in a murder-suicide at his home in the 2900 block of Blue Glen. The bodies of Hausenbauer, his 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter weren't found until late Sunday. When Hausenbaurer failed to return the children to their mother's home Sunday night, she went to pick them up shortly before 10 p.m.

The victims' mother sensed something was wrong when no one answered the door. She sensed something was wrong when no one answered the door and went to a neighbor for help. That neighbor forced his way into the home and discovered the two children and their father were dead. All three had been shot with a high-caliber handgun.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Department, the couple's breakup could have played a part in the tragedy. The couple's 15-year-old child wasn't with her father because the court ruled she didn't have to spend time with him. Some neighbors described Hausenbauer, 52, as controlling and unfriendly, but no one expected this.

"I never thought that he was cabable of what happened," said Wilma Smith, a neighbor. "Never would have believed he would have been capable of taking the lives of his own two children." "I don't even know how the mother is going to get over it, I don't think you can," said another neighbor. "When you lose a child -- and she lost two -- I just can't imagine."

The divorce lawyer who represented Mrs. Hausenbauer said a psychologist who spoke with Mr. Hausenbauer never suspected anything like this could happen.