'Lots Of Tragedy': Verdigris Community Grieves After Police Say Mother Killed Children, Herself

The community of Verdigris is heartbroken after police said three children were murdered by their own mother before she took her own life.

Friday, July 21st 2023, 5:14 pm



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The community of Verdigris is heartbroken after police said three children were murdered by their own mother before she took her own life.

We're hearing from those who knew the victims and from advocates who said these kinds of tragedies are happening too often.

The Verdigris Police Chief said the mother, Brandy McCaslin, held a woman hostage in her garage. Then hours later, officers said they found Brandy and three of her children dead inside the home.

A pastor at a Claremore church said the mother had many mental health struggles in her life. While it doesn’t excuse what happened, he said there must be some empathy for everyone going through this.

Verdigris Police said one of their officers was alerted of the hostage situation after a woman fired off a roman candle from the garage of the home Thursday afternoon.

Chief Jack Shackelford said the woman had gone to the home with a child belonging to the mother, Brandy McCaslin, and two of her own kids.

The woman told officers Brandy took her phone and held her at gunpoint before taking Brandy's child and leaving the woman and her two kids trapped in the garage until the woman lit the firework and officers began the standoff.

"We're trying to call the mother of the children out," said the Chief. "They called her numerous times on the PA system, called her on the telephone, no response."

Officers eventually went into a back bedroom and found Brandy and three of her children: 11-year-old Noe, 6-year-old Bryce, and 10-month-old Billy, dead inside.

“We were just stunned," said Pastor Josh Kerr. "It was one of those things where you saw a friend from 20 years ago who has struggled over the last years, but don't expect it to end in a scenario like this."

Josh Kerr is the pastor at First Presbyterian Claremore. He said Brandy grew up in the church and they did camp together.

Kerr said Brandy struggled with a lot in her life and this was likely a mental health crisis.

"Lots of tragedy, suicides in the family, drug use, all the brokenness we see in our communities all the time,” said Kerr.

He said he and many others are shocked, angry, and heartbroken. But he also called for something more.

“There also needs to be empathy and sincere grief and some compassion,” he said.

Shackelford said his officers had been to the house many times before for child welfare and domestic violence issues.

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It is our policy to provide resources for anybody considering self-harm when reporting about a situation involving suicide or a suicide attempt. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.

The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line at 988 (Press 1) connect veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.

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