This Mom Is ‘Living Through A Nightmare’ After Boys Killed In Murder-Suicide By Father

August 28, 2017
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A Mother remembers her sons as the goofy and sweet boys. They were just 7 and 5 when their father killed them.

I am a very private person living through a nightmare,” said Leigh Ann Malone, the boys’ mother.

On July 30, fire crews responded to a blaze at a home in the 1200 block of South White Oak Road, just outside Marshfield at 2 am in the morning. Inside, they found three bodies — those of Robbie, William and their father, Robert Kinney, 45.

All 3 had a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole said he believes Kinney shot his children and set the house ablaze before turning the gun on himself.

Malone recently divorced Kinney, in the months leading up to the deaths. She feared for her children and she wasn’t the only one familiar with the situation.

Records state that the Missouri Children’s Division twice filed a “danger statement” indicating the agency thought Kinney could harm Robbie and William. But no further action was taken.

Malone married Robert Kinney in 2006 and brought several older children to the marriage.

The family originally lived in Centerview, a town of several hundred west of Warrensburg. That’s where Robbie and William were born. In 2014, they moved to the house just outside Marshfield. Kinney wanted a new job and had long desired to live in the Ozarks, Malone said.

Kinney began working at the Kraft manufacturing plant in Springfield and according to Malone, “changed a lot” over the course of the marriage.

When she met him, she said, he was “quiet, reserved and kind,” but she gradually grew to fear her husband. He never treated his stepchildren well, and she’d end up inserting herself in arguments between Kinney and the kids so that the abuse would land on her instead of them, says Malone.

The relationship gave her post traumatic stress disorder.

The older children also suffered, she said. One daughter ran away from home for a time and she later attempted suicide.

One night in July 2016, while Kinney was at work, Malone left with the kids. They moved to Springfield.
“It took me eight months to actually leave him, to get everything put together, to have a place to go to, to have money to do everything,” Malone said. ‘I had to work my safety plan, and it took me eight months to leave.”

She said The Victim Center in Springfield assisted her to leave.

Law enforcement records r indicate that Missouri Children’s Division staff filed seven reports in connection with the Kinney family.

Two of those reports included a “danger statement”

Despite that assessment, the agency took no action “other than to offer services to the family,” according to the deputy.

Malone said she was disappointed with the Children’s Division’s response, which came after she moved with the kids to Springfield.

“They said because the boys were no longer in the household with Robert that they were not in danger, and they needed to use their resources for children that were currently in danger, so they weren’t going to do anything,” Malone said.

Still, Malone never thought Kinney might kill his sons.

“I thought that he may disappear with them, and take them away from myself and their siblings,” she said. “But no, I never thought that he would do what he did. I thought he would just treat them like he treated the other children, which was bad. Horrible. And I didn’t want to see that happen to them.”

Malone said she “tried to do no contact” with Kinney for a while after separating. She filed for and received an ex parte order, and really wanted a protective order that would keep Robbie and William from their father.

She, however, received advice from an attorney that “because he had not physically harmed the children, that there was not a judge that would give a protective order.”

By October 2016, Malone said, with an order protecting the boys seemingly impossible to obtain, she began letting Kinney see the kids again.

Malone told an investigator that she insisted Kinney seek counseling prior to visiting the boys in early 2017, according to the law enforcement records. She said Kinney went for a short time.

Kinney’s backstory only explains so much. Malone said she only has two answers for why Kinney took the actions the sheriff says he did. She believes the couple’s divorce made him suicidal. When he was a child, she said, his mother died, “and he was absolutely devastated by it.” As an adult, he would regularly get upset about it.

“And so I think when he had chosen to commit suicide, I’m assuming he didn’t want the little ones to have to live through something like that,” Malone said.

Malone also said she also thinks the move was “retribution.” “If he couldn’t have them, then nobody could,” she said.

Two weeks after the deaths, two teddy bears and some artificial flowers had been attached to a fence surrounding the burned home, alongside a message.

“Fly high sweet angels,” the note read.

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