An artist mother shot her 10-year-old daughter twice then killed herself in an apparent murder suicide at her ex-husband's home after he moved on with a new partner and baby.
Cristi Benavides, 40, was found dead next to her 10-year-old daughter Emma on Monday at 7.30am by the girl's father Andrew.
The pair were staying in the house in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, while she prepared to move to a different state.
Cristi had been suffering from depression, family members said as they mourned her death.
'My sister was a beautiful, creative, loving mother. In fact, she was an amazing mother.
'Cris was unfortunately, suffering from depression for quite some time.
'She was having problems dealing with some unfortunate events in her past and had been in a dark dark place for quite some time. It breaks my heart because so many people loved her, but she was in a place beyond help,' the 40-year-old's sister Jenni told DailyMail.com.
Emma, who was in the fifth grade, died of multiple gun shot wounds, the coroner revealed.
'The Coroner’s Office has completed an autopsy on Emma, with preliminary findings of multiple gunshot wounds being the cause of death. Manner of death pending further investigation.
'The death of Emma Benavides and Cristi Benavides continue to be investigated by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Douglas County Coroner’s Office.
'No further information is available at this time,' Douglas County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Tuesday.
A memo sent around parents at her school confirmed her death.
'I am heartbroken to inform you that one of our fifth-grade students, Emma Benavides, recently died at her home.
'This is a tragic loss and our hearts go out to Emma's family and friends,' Northridge Elementary Principal James Hamilton said.
Cristi is described as an international artist whose work has been exhibited in the UK, France and in the US.
She was registered as living in the suburb of Highlands Ranch, where the pair died, until 2011 but moved to an apartment in Centennial that year.
Her work was shown and sold by Free Bird Fine Art, a Centennial-based business she appears to have set up herself. Her 40-year-old ex-husband owns an online sports apparel retailer.
After their break-up, he moved on with a new partner, Aleana, and the pair have a one-year-old son. They broke up last year. Neither Aleana nor the baby were in the home at the time of Cristi and Emma's deaths.
Cristi's family is now donating proceeds from the sale of her art to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
'I personally believe my sister was in so much pain, it is inconceivable to someone from the outside. This is such a devastating tragedy, but I truly hope a positive message can be shared, so something good can come of this horrible tragedy.
'Let us ask for more kindness in the world, and more awareness for those who are suffering and need help,' her sister added.
Artist mother shoots her daughter, 10, twice then kills herself in murder suicide at ex-husband's home after he moved on with new partner and baby Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com 19:18 GMT, 1 February 2017
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