Coroner: Pa. family of 3 died in murder-suicide

January 23, 2011 2:16:50 PM PST
Authorities in western Pennsylvania say a woman shot her 12-year-old son and her elderly mother before turning the gun on herself last week.

Lawrence County Coroner Russell Noga ruled the deaths of Ljuba Novosel, 40, Tomislav Novosel, 12, and Anka Denk, 81, a double homicide-suicide after an autopsy Saturday. Based on evidence found in the New Castle home, Noga said, he believes that the deaths occurred between 11 p.m. and midnight on Wednesday.

"It was a tragedy," Noga said. "It's a shame. It really is."

Ljuba Novosel, born in Zagreb, Croatia, told the New Castle News in a Sept. 18, 2001, interview that she became an American citizen in 1998.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says online records indicate that she got a nursing degree from Slippery Rock University in 2005 and renewed her registered nurse's license in the commonwealth in October, although it wasn't clear whether she was working at the time of her death.

Zvonimira Fec of Ellwood City, sister of Ljuba Novosel's ex-husband, said Tomislav would have been 13 on Feb. 4. The New Castle Junior/Senior High School seventh-grader loved to play baseball and served as an altar boy in a local parish.

"He was supposed to serve Sunday," Fec said tearfully. "My brother lived for his son."

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