A couple and their child were killed in an apparent murder-suicide in Apple Valley, police said Sunday.
The three bodies were found Saturday in their rambler home on Ramsdell Drive, after Apple Valley police were called about 1 p.m.
Police would not identify the victims Sunday. A neighbor who discovered the bodies said they were David Crowley; his wife, Komel; and their 5-year-old daughter, Rani.
The neighbor, Collin Prochnow, said he had a passing acquaintance with the family. His wife, Judy, said, “Our grandkids would go over and play with their daughter.”
It isn’t known exactly when the three died, but the Prochnows believe it was near Christmas. That’s when they stopped seeing signs of life in the house.
“I assumed they had gone somewhere for Christmas,” said Collin Prochnow.
The neighbors became suspicious last week when they noticed the same lights on in the home day and night.
Collin Prochnow decided to check on them Saturday. As he approached the front door, he noticed Christmas presents sitting unopened on the doorstep.
He peered into the house and saw three bodies and a handgun on the floor and then called police.
According to police radio messages recorded by MnPoliceClips.com, police reported finding the “obviously deceased bodies” on the first floor of the home, along with a “very angry dog.”
“That dog looked thin, and he was already skinny to begin with,” Prochnow said.
According to David Crowley’s LinkedIn profile, he served in the U.S. Army. “After five years I had had enough, and left to pursue filmmaking,” the profile says.
Crowley, who attended the Minnesota School of Business, wrote and directed a movie, “Gray State.” The trailer for the film shows FEMA agents spying on and killing hundreds of Americans. The tagline for the film is “The Second American Revolution may not be remembered.”
YouTube videos show him promoting the film at several events, including at a Ron Paul rally in Florida in 2012.
Twin Cities actor Charles Hubbell starred in the trailer for “Gray State,” which appears to appeal to conspiracy theorists.
Hubbell said he doesn’t believe that Crowley, whom he described as efficient, disciplined, passionate and inspirational, believed fully in all the conspiracy theories of government takeover that make up his film.
“When we talked about ‘Gray State’ I told him I’m not really into conspiracies,” Hubbell said Sunday. “I told him I’m a Buddhist/atheist/tree-hugging liberal, and with a wink in his eye, he said, ‘I’m just trying to get something out there.’ He always had that wink in his eye. He told me he had found a niche, a target audience and could feed off that niche.”
The Crowley family would come to the Hubbell house for dinner and when they left at the end of the night, Hubbell said he and his wife would stand in the doorway watching the couple leave and say, “It’s always great to have young, gorgeous people come to our house and look as happy as they are,” Hubbell said. “They were gorgeous, and they had this happy and bubbly and talkative child.”
David and Komel Crowley met and married within three months, Hubbell said.
The pair met in Texas, where Komel lived and where Crowley was stationed. They married shortly before Crowley deployed to Iraq.
“They knew right away that they were a team and that their marriage was going to happen,” Hubbell said.
Crowley’s LinkedIn profile shows he was in the military from June 2004 to August 2009 and was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany, as well as Texas.
After the couple moved to the Twin Cities, Komel, who was a registered dietitian, received a master’s in public health in nutrition from the University of Minnesota in 2012, according to her website, www.mindbodydietitian.com.
The Crowleys had talked to the Hubbells about moving to Los Angeles, where Komel could pursue a career as a dietitian and Crowley could work as a writer and filmmaker.
Hubbell said he was “blindsided” and “shocked” by news of the deaths.
“He seemed more grounded and focused than would lend itself to anything chaotic,” Hubbell said. “The entire time I worked with him there was nothing aggressive or chaotic or strange or abnormal. He was one of the ones I was hanging my hat on, one who was going to succeed.”
Twin Cities director and filmmaker Paul von Stoetzel said that David Crowley and his colleagues were good people and had huge dreams for their film careers. Von Stoetzel had met with Crowley early on about possibly writing the script for “Gray State.”
Von Stoetzel said people liked and respected Crowley and his business partner, Mitch Heil, who ran a video production company with David Crowley and also co-owned with Crowley the Bullet Exchange, a company that trained actors to use weapons and military and police gear in film.
Heil said Sunday he was “heartbroken” over the deaths.
“He’s been one of my best friends since high school,” he said.
He said the couple had a “great marriage.”
The two men were friends in high school and then joined the Army together. After basic training, they were stationed in different places but came back together again in the Twin Cities to form their actor-training company.
Heil hadn’t spoken to Crowley since September when they parted ways in business. He said it was normal for Crowley to hunker down to write and then surface several months later, so he didn’t think it was odd that they hadn’t spoken.
Crowley was a charismatic leader and creative person, Heil said.
“When it came to business stuff, he was the brains behind everything. I was just there assisting him to reach his vision.”
Although Crowley had met with people in California about getting “Gray State” made, nothing had panned out, Heil said.
“He was a great person, a great friend,” he said.
Police didn’t issue any other details about the crime. The investigation continues, with the help of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Dakota County sheriff’s office.