Crisis centers encourage people to reach out for help following Avon murder-suicide

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AVON, Ind.– An autopsy is scheduled to take place after a tragic murder-suicide in Hendricks County. A mother and son are dead, and police are investigating why.

Sunday afternoon, police were called to conduct a welfare check at a home in the Lexington Woods subdivision, located off of CR 100 South. Avon police confirmed that Manisha Singhal, 41, shot and killed her 7-year-old son, Shiv Patel, before taking her own life.

“Anytime a situation like this happens our hearts just break and go out toward the family,” said Cassie Mecklenburg.

Mecklenburg doesn’t know the specifics of the case, but as the Executive Director of Sheltering Wings, an organization that helps people find safety, healing and hope, tragedies like this one reminder her of the need.

 “Our advocates are available, 24/7,” Mecklenburg added.

Avon police believe the murder-suicide came after a long history of custody disputes. Singhal was set to appear in court on Monday for a hearing and records show she and her ex-husband have had on-going issues since 2015.

“We want to be able to help them to identify those red flags are, so we can talk through that scenario,” said Mecklenburg.

“Tragedies of this magnitude have an impact on our entire community. From family members and first responders to neighbors and friends, tragedies like this are very difficult to endure. We ask that you respect the privacy of the family moving forward, and we cannot thank you enough for your patience and support for our officers here in Avon,” Avon police said in a statement.

Avon posted the following statement on their website.

“Avon Community School Corporation is heartbroken after learning about the death of a Hickory Elementary School student. He was a joyful student who will be truly missed. We appreciate the ongoing collaboration with the Avon Police Department and have activated our mental health team to provide counseling to our families and staff this week. We ask that you join us in keeping this family in your thoughts.”

“We’re here to empower them to be their own advocate for themselves,” said Sandra Ziebold, the CEO of the Beacon of Hope Crisis Center.

The Beacon of Hope Crisis Center has criminal justice advocates who specifically help families understand the court system and how it works.

“I want people to know if they find themselves in a situation like this family found themselves in that we can help,” Ziebold added.

Preventing cases that end in tragedy like this one, both groups say it doesn’t matter the reason, reach out anyway.

“They can talk through the situation and they can help process, navigate what that situation is and how we can best help them because we just want people to know that there’s help available for them,” said Mecklenburg.

For help, call Sheltering Wings at (317) 745-1496 or the Beacon of Hope Crisis Center at (317) 731-6131.

The Beacon of Hope Crisis Center’s crisis hotline is (317) 731-6140. The center now has extended crisis line hours Mon-Sun until 1:00 a.m. and will be 24/7 this Fall.

Both organizations are available to help and have advocates standing by to connect you to the resources you need.

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