One year after Minnesota screenwriter David Crowley shot his wife and daughter to death before killing himself, unsettling details of the man’s final actions and messages have been revealed. The police report of the murder-suicide, which sheds a disturbing light on Crowley’s mind, reveals the clues left behind, including writing on the wall in his wife’s blood and an open Quran, which seem to have been direct shots at the woman’s Muslim upbringing.
The murder-suicide stunned the Twin Cities early in January 2015. Neighbors, concerned that the Apple Valley family had not been seen over the holidays, peeked through the windows of the home on January 17 and saw the bodies of David Crowley, 29; his wife, Komel; and their 5-year-old daughter, Raniya.
The Crowleys had distanced themselves from the rest of their family since October, said family members. In November, Komel Crowley wrote an e-mail to her sister in which she said, “…this is all I choose to share: we are dealing with an endless list of deeply personal issues silently as adults, as lovers, as partners and parents.” Despite the distance, David Crowley’s brother left Christmas gifts for the family on their doorstep, but they were never taken inside of the house.
After a year-long investigation by Apple Valley police, authorities believe the deaths, all execution-style, likely happened on the day after Christmas, and that the bodies went undiscovered for three weeks. Although police believe David Crowley also attempted to kill the family’s dog, it survived the violence and the next three weeks by scavenging from the bodies.
The death of David Crowley, who had been working an a film about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) troops forcefully taking over the U.S., sparked Internet conspiracy theories and sites that warned of a coming “New World Order.” Despite a multitude of Facebook groups, websites, and reddit posts to rival that of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, police found no signs that the family had been killed by intruders. According to Jon Rechtzigel, chief of the Apple Valley Police, investigators believe the signs point to Crowley having “snapped.”
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the police report of the Minnesota murder-suicide, which sheds a disturbing light on David Crawley’s mind, says the words “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is Greatest,” were written on the wall in Komel Crowley’s blood. It is believed the words were not written as a confession of faith, but rather as a “parting shot” at the Muslim faith once held by Komel Crowley, who was raised in Pakistan as a Muslim, but who converted to Christianity in order to marry David Crowley. The couple met while he was based in Texas for the Army.
In addition to the writing in blood found at the scene, a Quran was discovered in the family’s living room. It had been left open to a page that spoke of forgiveness.
The police report also lists a note left by David Crowley on his MacBook which read, “I have loved you with all of my heart.” A bloodied spiral notebook found in Crowley’s home office directed authorities to look at the documentary he had been making and which was stored on his computer. At the bottom of the page was written, “Submit to Allah NOW.” A total of 16 hard drives were scoured by the Dakota County Electronic Crimes Task Force as part of the case.
The documentary, titled The Rise, appears to be a companion to Gray State, a feature film he had been working on for years. The movie is an end-of-days government takeover movie which “almost embodied him,” according to Danny Mason, the co-producer of the film, to Fox 9. Mason described the movie as having consumed David Crowley’s life so much that it affected his “reality.”
Investigators have identified several factors they believe led to the murder-suicide. Prior to the holiday season, a deal to make his movie fell through. In addition, a business co-owned by David Crowley called The Bullet Exchange, in which he taught actors how to use weapons as well as military and police gear for upcoming roles in movies, closed three months earlier. Officials discovered 10 legally-purchased guns in the home.
Although Komel Crowley worked from home as a dietician, friends say the added financial burden took its toll. Another possible factor in the Minnesota murder-suicide could be post-traumatic stress disorder due to David Crowley’s deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, although he was never formally diagnosed with the condition. Even if the report does shed a disturbing light on Crowley’s mind, the reason why he killed his wife and daughter will forever remain unknown.
By Jennifer Pfalz
New York Daily News: Disturbing details of Minnesota filmmaker’s murder-suicide emerge a year after killings
Twin Cities.com: Filmmaker who killed family, self ‘snapped,’ Apple Valley police say
Facebook.com: Justice for David Crowley