SEATTLE – The mother of five children killed in the family's mobile home denied that she was having an affair Monday, but said she believes her husband killed her kids to punish her.
Authorities believe James Harrison shot his five children early Saturday at the family home in Graham, about 50 miles south of Seattle. He was found later that day, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot, behind the wheel of his idling car miles away in suburban Auburn.
Angela Harrison told Seattle television station KCPQ that she tried many times to leave her 34-year-old husband and he tried to control her for years.
Pierce County sheriff's officers said the woman had told her husband she was leaving him for another man.
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But the 30-year-old mother told the TV station that she didn't have an affair and had planned to go back home to get her kids.
"They were my life and they were taken from me. He was real selfish, what he did," she told KCPQ.
Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told the Associated Press on Monday that investigators' theory about what happened hasn't changed.
Based on interviews with relatives who talked to James Harrison before he killed himself, Troyer said, investigators believe the woman had a boyfriend and that she was leaving her husband for another man.
The night before the killing, Harrison and his eldest daughter went in search of his wife. The daughter used a GPS feature in her mother's cell phone, and found her with another man at a convenience store in Auburn, Troyer said.
Authorities said both father and daughter left the store distraught after she told them she wasn't coming home.
Sometime after the children went to sleep Friday night, investigators say, James Harrison shot them each multiple times at close-range. Four died in their beds. The fifth was found in the mobile home's bathroom.
Investigators believe he then returned to the area near the convenience store, looking for his wife. His body was found near the store, Troyer said.
A neighbor called for help after a relative checking on the family Saturday afternoon glimpsed a child lying motionless on a bed, but couldn't get anyone to answer the door.
Angela Harrison told KCPQ that 16-year-old Maxine was learning to drive and hoped to become a cosmetologist. Jayme was a quiet, loving 14-year-old girl who loved video games.
Samantha, 12, wanted to become a veterinarian. Eight-year-old Heather loved the outdoors; and 7-year-old James was energetic and even at his age talked about joining the Navy.
James Harrison was put on a parenting plan by state child welfare officials in 2007 after what Troyer described as a "minor assault" on one of the children. He agreed to the plan and the case was closed, Troyer said.
Since the shootings, the handling of that case has been placed under review, Sherry Hill, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, said Monday.
Hill said she could not determine which child was involved, but said the child remained in the home "because (the physical abuse) apparently was not considered serious enough at the time."
Troyer said James Harrison worked as a security guard at a casino. Robert Comenout Sr., part-owner of the Indian County Store in Puyallup, said Angela Harrison worked there intermittently for a couple years.