HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – A woman and a girl were found dead inside a Highlands Ranch home Monday morning, and authorities have spent the day investigating their deaths.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says Cristi Benavides, 39, and a “juvenile female” were found dead at a home on Crestmore Way around 7:30 a.m. Monday.
Authorities said they believe Benavides was only living temporarily at the home.
The sheriff’s office says it does not believe there is a threat to the community, but has not released further information at this time.
But neighbors told Denver7 that the girl was Benavides' daughter and that the incident was a murder-suicide.
Northridge Elementary Principal James Hamilton sent a letter home to parents, students and staff of the school to inform them of the girl’s death. She was a fifth-grader at the school.
In part, the letter states the following:
The Northridge and Douglas County School District communities are saddened for this loss. Please keep the Benavides family in your thoughts.
We recognize that this information is hard to process and will impact everyone differently. There are resources available to help during this difficult time, but the most important thing is that we are here to support one other.
Our District Crisis Team is working with school mental health professionals at our school to ensure that both students and staff have the support needed during this sad time. Northridge staff will not be announcing this information to our students at school. However, we do anticipate that there may be discussion among some of our students in the next few days and our staff is prepared to address their questions and support them as needed.
As parents, you are the very best support system in meeting your child’s needs. Knowing what to say to your child is often difficult. When no other words come to mind, a hug and saying, “This is really hard for all of us,” may provide comfort. You can provide the best explanation that fits with your values and beliefs, knowing that other parents may share this information with their children and informal discussions may take place in and outside of school. You may wish to have a family discussion to talk briefly about loss of life and to acknowledge any feelings that may surface. If you need additional guidance in discussing this situation with your child, please see the attached suggestions from our District Crisis Team.
Please feel free to contact us directly if you have concerns about your child, or if you need any assistance in addressing this tragedy in our community.
For the Colorado Crisis Services reference guide click here .
For Tips for Kids please click here