A former Mankato woman was murdered Thursday in her Colorado home while her three small children were there. Her husband has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.
Molly Jean Nickal (Lorentz), 35, was a 1998 Mankato West High School graduate and received her degree in finance from Minnesota State University in 2002.
She worked for Wells Fargo Bank in Bloomington from 2012 to 2014 and then moved to Denver where she worked for Wells Fargo until 2015. She most recently worked for Centennial Bank and Trust in Broomfield, Colorado. Her home was in Westminster, about 12 miles northwest of Denver.
She had two daughters, who are ages 8 and 7, and a 3-month-old son, according to police records.
Her husband, Gary Nickal, called police and said his wife had committed suicide, according to a story in the Denver Post.
She was found dead in the bathroom and had two shotgun wounds.
Police immediately became suspicious of Gary Nickal, noting he had blood on his hands, which he began licking after police questioned him about it, according to an arrest affidavit.
Police also doubted his story after taking measurements of the shotgun, the Post reported. The gun's barrel was 34 inches, but Molly Nickal's arm length was just 21.5 inches, the affidavit said.
"It would not have been possible for Molly Nickal to have fired the weapon into her head if she had been holding the gun without the aid of a device to push the trigger. No such device was found in or around the scene of the shooting."
The Post said the Nickals had a history of domestic violence, a Westminster detective wrote in the affidavit after speaking with Molly Nickal's two sisters.
The sisters told police the family had been frightened for Molly Nickal because her husband was controlling, was violent and had isolated her from the family. She had told one sister she felt she was "in prison in her own home," the affidavit said.
Molly Nickal had tried to leave her husband and found it financially difficult. The couple had separated but reunited after the baby was born, the affidavit said.