ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — An Englewood man, 81, accused of killing his wife and daughter allegedly told police he planned to kill them so the family could avoid becoming homeless, according to an arrest affidavit.
Reginald L. MacLaren, 81, was arrested on Saturday around 9:30 p.m. on a charge of first-degree murder.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by Denver7 Wednesday morning, around 6 p.m. on Saturday, Reginald MacLaren called police and said he thought his wife and daughter had been murdered by somebody with a hammer. He identified the victims as his wife, Bethany MacLaren, 70, and his daughter, Ruth Jennifer MacLaren, 35, and told police that both were in the apartment’s living room.
When police arrived at the complex, which was along the 900 block of Englewood Parkway, the front door was locked. When they knocked, Reginald MacLaren opened the door. He was asked to exit the apartment while officers swept the apartment for potential suspects, according to the affidavit.
When the officers began to walk around the apartment, they saw suspected blood dripping from the top of a kitchen trash can and what appeared to be human hair coming out of the top. The officers also saw two large rollaway black trash cans on their sides in the living room.
According to the affidavit, the officers found one body in each of those trash cans. The cans appeared to be new, as they did not have scuffing on the wheels.
An Englewood detective spoke with Reginald MacLaren, who had been transported to Swedish Medical Center due to pre-existing medical conditions. He gave consent for detectives to enter the apartment and so two other detectives went to that scene.
The detectives also saw the two bodies in the trash cans. They found a large axe in a closet and a handsaw near the trash cans. They noted the large amount of blood in the apartment.
Shortly after 9 p.m., detectives spoke with Reginald MacLaren at the hospital again. He waived his rights verbally and in writing before answering questions.
During that interview, Reginald MacLaren said he had been employed at Hospital Shared Services, but recently was terminated and didn’t have any money left. He regularly interacted with people experiencing homelessness and “knew what a miserable life that was,” he said, according to the affidavit.
About 10 days prior, he began a plan to kill his family “so they would not be homeless,” he told police. He purchased an axe, the two trash cans and a hand saw and stored the items in his apartment.
The affidavit reads that Reginald MacLaren knew he had to leave the apartment the day of the homicides because he didn’t have rent money. He said they had nowhere to go.
He said that morning, his wife and daughter were sitting on a couch and he struck both of them in the head with an axe, knocking them unconscious, the affidavit reads. He hit them multiple times, according to the affidavit, and knew he had killed them.
He said their bodies wouldn’t fit in the trash cans, so he used a saw to remove their arms and legs. The cans were too heavy and he could not move them, he said, according to the affidavit.
The document reads that Reginald MacLaren told police “he does not regret killing his family as he ‘knows they are in a better place.’”
Reginald MacLaren was arrested around 9:30 p.m. and brought to the Arapahoe County Jail.
During a press conference on Tuesday, when the arrest was announced, Englewood Police Division Chief Tracy Jones said some of his detectives said this was one of the most gruesome crime scenes they had investigated.
He said Reginald MacLaren was “more than cooperative” during the investigation on March 25, Jones said.
Englewood man, 81, in custody after police find bodies of wife, daughter in trash cans
“Our officers who responded — obviously we’re taking their mental health into consideration and we’re getting them all the help and resources they need,” Jones said.
He added that anybody who is trying to avoid homelessness can reach out to the Englewood Police Department. He said they have people who can help and connect them with services.
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