Published November 19, 2010
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A photocopy of a magazine cover about the Columbine school shooting was found among the belongings of Australian twin sisters who shot themselves in a suicide pact at a Colorado shooting range, authorities said Friday.
However, it remained unclear why Kristin and Candice Hermeler, both 29, had the cover of Time headlined "The Monsters Next Door/What Made Them Do It?" and why the sisters made the plan to kill themselves, authorities said. One of the women survived.
Columbine High School is about 20 miles from the shooting range. The May 3, 1999, magazine cover featured photographs of gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and their 13 victims. Harris and Klebold committed suicide simultaneously — just as police said the twins attempted to do.
The magazine cover was found among stuffed animals, cell phones and jewelry the twins left behind at the nearby hotel where they had been staying. No suicide note was found.
Candice Hermeler remained hospitalized in serious condition with a head wound as her parents, Ernest and Kelsay Hermeler, arrived in Colorado on Friday. Investigators hoped to talk to the parents later, Arapahoe County sheriff's Capt. Louie Perea said.
The parents issued a statement through Swedish Medical Center thanking people for the outpouring of support and concern, and the Arapahoe County sheriff's office for its diligence in determining what happened.
The Hermelers also asked for privacy and declined media interviews, hospital spokeswoman Karen Prestia said.
Perea said the presence of the Time cover showed the twins had some interest in the Columbine shooting but added that Candice told investigators during an emotional interview that she didn't care about the attack and that it had happened a long time ago.
She also told authorities the twins were trying to carry out the suicide plan Monday at Family Shooting Center in Cherry Creek State Park, where investigators said they rented handguns and shot themselves in the head.
There was nothing to indicate the sisters planned to hurt anyone else, Perea said, noting police don't believe a crime was committed.
An affidavit supporting the search of the twins' belongings states a witness at the range saw two women fall down before one rolled around and yelled for help.
An arriving deputy found one sister on her back and the other sitting on her feet. When the seated woman fell onto her sister, the officer noticed a gunshot wound to her forehead as he rolled her away.
The sisters, who are from Australia's Victoria state, had been in the Denver area for about five weeks. One had gun training two weeks before the shooting, and both showed up at the range about a week later for additional training, Perea said.
On Monday, the sisters took a taxi to the range from their hotel about six miles away and rented the pistols. They took target practice on the chilly afternoon, prompting one sister to borrow a jacket, Perea said.
They initially shared a stall near a person firing a high-powered rifle. After the twins complained about the noise, range staff moved them to another lane.
"I don't know if they did that to be in a more secluded area or what," Perea said.
One of the sisters then left to place the jacket on a nearby table — apparently deciding against wearing borrowed clothing for what was to follow.
Authorities said surveillance video showed the sisters falling out of the stall about a half-second apart, with other patrons quickly reacting.
The twins had been at the range about an hour and 20 minutes.
It's not clear what they were doing in the United States.
The Sydney Morning Herald said they were from the Melbourne suburb of Surrey Hills. The Herald Sun reported Ernest Hermeler was a bank executive and that the twins' parents had emigrated to Australia from South Africa about 40 years ago.