Coroner officially IDs the four dead in Friday’s murder-suicide in Saugus

Scene in front of Startree Day care as homicide detectives investigate murder-suicide. photo by Austin Dave, The Signal

The coroner’s office identified on Saturday morning the victims in the suspected triple-murder-suicide of a family that took place inside a home on the 28800 block of Startree Lane in Saugus on Friday.

Three members of the Birnkrant family were found on Friday morning by deputies at their home after a friend requested a “check the welfare” call, which deputies can conduct when there’s concern for someone’s well-being.

Any Birnkrant, 47; her daughter Drew, 20; and son Sean, 11, were identified as the victims in what LASD Homicide detectives believe was a murder-suicide perpetrated by Amy’s husband. Medical examiners and homicide detectives have not released the husband’s name; however, the man’s identity has been widely reported in the media. Through an independent records check, The Signal has learned the husband’s name was Michael Birnkrant.

Detectives would not comment on the identity of the person they believed to be the suspect in the murder-suicide; however, at the crime scene Friday, Lieutenant Rodney Moore noted the husband was the suspect, and that a handgun was recovered at the scene.

Investigators were not prepared to release the father’s name as of 10 a.m. on Sunday, as his next of kin has yet to be notified.

Amy Suzanne Birnkrant, according to social media, was an active member of the Santa Clarita Valley running community and had completed numerous marathons, one of which had even taken her to the top of Mt. Whitney, over the course of the past few years.

She operated a daycare agency, “Birnkrant Family Daycare Home,” from the garage of her Saugus home that investigators claim had a “spotless record” over its seven years of operation, according to records obtained by The Signal.

Prior to founding Birnkrant Family Daycare Home, she worked as a preschool teacher

Students and parents plastered messages of admiration and appreciation on a makeshift shrine near the corner of Startree Lane and Raintree Lane in Saugus.

Under the haphazard amalgamation of roses and candles lied one note that read: “thanks for teaching me, Mrs. Amy.

“You’re the best teacher,” read another note, scribbled in orange crayon.

A shrine honoring the victimes of Firday’s murder-suicide lies on the corner of Startree and Raintree Lane in Saugus, Calif. Ryan Painter/The Signal.

Drew Taylor Birnkrant was a Valencia High School graduate. Friends say she participated in track and field for the Vikings, and later for College of the Canyons, where she ran the 200 and 400 meters and occasionally competed in the pole vault.

Drew worked at a retail clothing store at Valencia Town Center in order to pay her way through college.

“I knew her through work and shifts,” said coworker Lauren Jordan. “We bonded over our dogs.

“Once you meet her, you can’t forget her,” she added. “She was that light at the end of the tunnel.”

Many of her other coworkers similarly echoed the strong connections they had built with Drew.

Sean Birnkrant was the youngest child of Amy and Michael Birnkrant. An elementary school student, he had yet to enjoy and accrue the same experiences as his mother and sister.

Authorities suspect that the family’s patriarch murdered his family before turning the gun on himself.  

Although reports of the man’s identity have been promulgated over social media, officials at the coroner’s office have not yet confirmed his identity and do not expect to be able to do so until the end of the coming week.  

At approximately 7 a.m. on Friday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies were asked to conduct a “welfare check” by a close family friend and neighbor of the Birnkrants.

During a welfare check, deputies are permitted to enter a residence in which they have probable cause to believe that the occupants are in need of assistance. Welfare checks are typically called-in by friends or relatives.

Upon entering the usually sleepy, suburban Saugus residence, deputies discovered the murders.

“Upon the deputies’ arrival they discovered four individuals who had sustained gunshot wounds to the upper torsos,” said Lt. Rodney Moore of the LASD Homicide Bureau in a televised news conference. “The were all pronounced dead (there) at the scene.”

“We do believe it was a murder-suicide based on the physical evidence at the scene,” said Moore.

Detectives, said the coroners office, were not able to confirm how long the bodies had lain lifeless in the home before being discovered.

Similarly, homicide investigators would not publicly comment as to where within the residence the bodies were found.

“Examinations aren’t done,” said a representative from the coroner’s office. “The autopsies are still pending.”

The Signal will continue to provide coverage of this story as it develops.


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