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News Release

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2010

Contact:
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin
(603) 271-3671

Report of the Investigation into the deaths of Suzanne and Binh Vernet stemming from a domestic violence incident in Londonderry, New Hampshire

I. Introduction

The Office of the Attorney General and the Londonderry Police Department conducted an investigation into an incident which occurred on October 21, 2009 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The incident involved Suzanne and Binh Vernet and resulted in both their deaths. The purpose of this final report is to summarize the findings of the investigation and to confirm that the deaths were due to a murder/suicide incident.

II. Factual Findings

On October 21, 2009, at approximately 9:10 p.m., the Londonderry Police Department responded to the Vernet residence at 4 Fiddlers Ridge Road in Londonderry in response to a 911 call. The teenage female caller reported that her mother was injured and that her father left the house carrying a knife stating he would kill himself. [1]

The police arrived at the Vernet residence and discovered the four Vernet children there (three girls (ages 16, 14 and 13) and one boy (age 8)). None of the Vernet children were physically injured. Suzanne Vernet was discovered in an upstairs bedroom/bathroom area. She was unconscious and bleeding heavily from her face and head. She was treated at the scene and then transported to a hospital in Massachusetts where she later died on October 22, 2009.

The police conducted interviews with all four of the Vernet children. The youngest girl reported that her parents had been arguing in a bedroom behind closed doors. Part of the argument centered on the fact that Binh Vernet was accusing Suzanne Vernet of cheating on him.[2] The daughter became so concerned with what she heard that she tried to get into the room. When that failed, she called her other sisters and asked them to get home. The two other girls arrived a short time later and together broke into the bedroom. When the door opened, they saw Binh Vernet holding a knife. He said he was going to kill himself and ran out of the room. The girls saw their mother on the floor in the bedroom/bathroom area and went to her aid. Suzanne Vernet had a substantial amount of blood on her head and was gravely injured. One of her children called 911 for help.

The information regarding the incident was put out to other law enforcement agencies so that they could be on the lookout for Binh Vernet. His minivan was eventually located parked on a dirt road to a home on Reservoir Avenue in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on October 22, 2009. The officers who found the minivan looked inside and could see what appeared to be blood on the steering wheel, but no sign of Binh Vernet. A search was conducted in some nearby woods and Vernet was located and found to be deceased, hanging from a tree. A knife was found near his body as well.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Massachusetts conducted autopsies on Suzanne and Binh Vernet. They determined that Suzanne Vernet died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. She also had numerous abrasions and contusions to her body as well as stab and incised wounds to her hands and lacerations to her face and scalp.[3] The manner of her death was homicide. Binh Vernet's autopsy revealed that he died from asphyxia by hanging and his manner of death was suicide.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Suzanne and Binh Vernet had been having marital problems prior to the October 21, 2009 incident. On October 15, 2009, Suzanne Vernet called the Londonderry police to report that Binh Vernet had stolen her cell phone. Suzanne told the police that Binh was very controlling and had assaulted her about four months prior. She also said that she did not call the police after that incident. The Vernet's marriage went "down hill" after that incident and Suzanne decided to end the marriage and the two separated. She said that she and her husband had been separated for about two months but due to financial issues had remained in the home together but in separate bedrooms.

The police followed up on Suzanne Vernet's claims regarding the stolen cell phone and attempted to speak to Binh Vernet about the allegations. However, Binh Vernet hired a lawyer and attempts were made to schedule an interview with him but that never took place.[4] In the meantime, Suzanne Vernet left a message with the police department informing them that Binh Vernet had been advised by his lawyer to stay at a hotel from that point on and not at the Vernet residence. The investigation went no further because Binh Vernet attacked Suzanne a few days later on October 21, 2009.

III. Conclusion

Based on a careful examination of the circumstances surrounding the October 21, 2009 incident, as detailed in this report, the Attorney General has concluded that the deaths of Suzanne Vernet and Binh Vernet were due to a murder/suicide incident which was likely motivated by marital issues.

[1] Around the same time a neighbor also called 911 after he spotted Binh Vernet leaving the residence.

[2] Binh Vernet had previously told his children that he believed their mother had a boyfriend.

[3] Suzanne's injuries were consistent with two bloody dumbbells found near her body and the knife found near Binh Vernet's body.

[4] The police also spoke to a private investigator that Binh Vernet had hired to conduct surveillance on Suzanne Vernet. This private investigator stated that Binh Vernet had information that Suzanne Vernet had been spending time with another man and wanted the private investigator to obtain confirmation for him, which he did.


New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658