Family: Mother, 2 kids shot prior to Dorr fire; Father arrested

Posted at 8:40 AM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-11 18:35:40-04

DORR, Mich. -- Family members tell FOX 17 that the mother and two children who were found dead in a Dorr home Tuesday afternoon were shot before the home was set on fire.

The fire began just after 1 p.m. Tuesday at the mobile home on Briarwood Street in Dorr Township.

Investigators had been treating the fire as suspicious from the beginning. Early Wednesday, Corey Lee LaValley was arrested in connection with the crimes, according to the Allegan County Sheriff's Department.

“We did receive information that for us established probable cause that Corey LaValley, who is the father of one of the people we believe to be deceased, believe that he was involved in ultimately the criminal act that caused this," Allegan County Undersheriff Frank Baker told FOX 17 Wednesday morning.

Corey Lee LaValley, 32

LaValley, 32,  is facing at least one felony homicide charge, according to Michigan State Police records.  Charges are expected to be filed Thursday. The mobile home in Dorr was listed under LaValley's name, according to records.

Family members identified the child victims as 10-year-old Corey LaValley Jr. and 13-year-old Emma McComber.  Both of the children were students at Hopkins, according to school officials.

Deb Sheppard (left), Corey LaValley Jr. (center), Emma McComber (right)

Family also identified the mother as Deb Sheppard.  She was in her mid-30s.

Autopsies were scheduled for Wednesday.

Police said LaValley is the father of one of the two children killed and had been in a relationship with the mother. It's unclear if LaValley was living at the Dorr home at the time of the fire.

William McComber, the father of the 13-year-old girl killed, said he and Sheppard shared custody after divorcing years ago. McComber said his daughter was strong and was never afraid to stand up for what she believed.

"It's one thing to lose someone in an accident," he said. "But when I think about it and knowing the fact that my daughter was shot, intentionally… it wasn't even accidental."

McComber tells FOX 17 he feared for his daughter's safety and was worried LaValley would eventually hurt her, her brother, or her mother.

"It hurts, I'm angry," he said. "Over the years I've questioned, did I do enough."

Repeated attempts to pull Emma from the home were ignored by Child Protective Services, McComber said.

"I saw records of Corey's violent tendencies dating back 10 years," he said.

“He's continued to be violent, from what my daughter would tell me when she'd come here is that his violence would get worse."

McComber said he felt the system failed him, adding he chose to speak out in an effort to stop it from happening to another child.

"I want people to know this isn't just guy snaps one day, freaks out, and kills his girlfriend and kids," he said. "This is years of building up to this, years of warning signs nobody took me seriously about."

Investigators arrested LaValley at a family member's home late Tuesday night in Charlotte, which is in Eaton County. He's awaiting arraignment in the Allegan County Jail.

He has a criminal past dating back to 2001. Records show misdemeanor assault, retail fraud and disturbing the peace.

"None of them deserved this," said Misty Moyses, Emma's aunt.

"This is a totally different situation when it touches your life, this is something for TV not for your own home, not for your own family."

The family has set  up GoFundMe accounts here and here to raise money for the funerals and burial of the three victims.