Lennox Community Coping With Tuesday Murder-Suicide

LENNOX, S.D. – Police have released the name of the suspect involved in Tuesday’s murder-suicide. Strong evidence is showing that 35-year-old Stephanie Hoover shot herself, along with a male and an 8-year-old boy.

There are two things that happen in a small town when tragedy strikes.

“We all are there for each other, and we can almost just look at each other and know what each other are feeling,” says Angela Zirpel, the Lennox Elementary School Counselor.

The support is considerable, but so is the grief.

“We do feel it more; it’s like we’re family,” explains Zirpel. “Even if you weren’t related to someone in the incident, you still know someone who was related to somebody in the incident.”

Lennox police confirmed the 8-year-old boy who died went to Lennox Elementary. Zirpel says his classmates don’t fully understand what happened yet.

“They all have bits and pieces of the truth, and things that they’re scared about,” she says.

Zirpel says healing is just in the beginning stages.

“I think in the next few weeks it’s going to be more apparent that he is no longer with us,” says Zirpel.

Something the Lennox Police Department is echoing.

“It was a very difficult situation,” says Chief of Police Orville Jorgensen. “Everybody did what they were supposed to do and we came out of it. We’ll work on that, it takes a while to get over stuff like that.”

Because of the nature of the crime, the Chief of Police says, “I’m not going to establish a timeline because that stuff can be sensitive.”

The names of the victims have also not been released. But Jorgensen did confirm that the suspect, Stephanie Hoover, has other kids.

“They’re being taken care of by family right now,” says Jorgensen.

That’s what the entire town is doing too; taking care of each other.

“It’s obviously a shock to the entire community,” says Jorgensen. “We’ve been through bad things before, and we’ll get past this too eventually.”

“Not only are we here for the children, but we’re here for the adults, the family members, teachers struggle, and I think with all of that we all need to work together,” adds Zirpel.

The counselor says now is the time for parents to really pay attention to their kids.

“Each and every day when you get home, take time,” says Zirpel. “Don’t rush and get that supper made, but take time to really talk to your kids and ask them what new thing happened, or one thing you would like to tell me today.”

Police have not released if there is a motive for the murder suicide. Through the end of this week, the Lennox Police Department will continue interviewing neighbors and family members. The South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation is helping them with the investigation.

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