A 33-year-old father strangled his young sons to death, set a fire, then killed himself as his wife searched frantically for her family before fleeing their burning northeast Bloomington home and asking neighbors to call 911, authorities said Wednesday.
In a detailed joint statement, authorities say that Eric N. Ringenberg caused the early morning fire Tuesday at 14 Brittany Court and the subsequent discovery of three bodies—including Ringenberg's—in the basement. His sons, a newborn and a 2-year-old, were also found in the basement.
Bloomington Police and Fire responded to the home around 3 a.m. Tuesday after Ringenberg’s wife, Pamela, was woken up by a smoke alarm near her bedroom, authorities said. She “frantically searched for her family members but was unable to find them,” authorities said. Suffering from smoke inhalation and unable to find her phone—police say her husband hid it from her intentionally—Pamela Ringenberg fled to her neighbor’s.
Based on home-surveillance video footage, authorities say Eric Ringenberg strangled his two young sons to death and then killed himself, also by strangulation. Authorities say he started the fire intentionally in the basement after the children were already dead.
Pamela Ringenberg was listed in fair condition late Tuesday at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. Her condition on Wednesday was not available.
Authorities declined to name the two boys, identifying them only as "CR" (age 2) and "RR" (infant).
Eric Ringenberg worked at State Farm and attended Lincoln College, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends impacted by this tragedy,” authorities said in their joint statement from Bloomington Police, Bloomington Fire, and the McLean County coroner’s office. “The public is asked to remember that if they or someone they know is contemplating suicide or is in a mental health crisis, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK or PATH CRISIS at 211.”
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