A Fort Richardson soldier was indicted Thursday on charges that he murdered his wife and infant child before turning the gun on himself in a failed suicide attempt in April, two months after he returned from Afghanistan.
Army Spc. Kip Lynch, a 21-year-old military policeman, was charged with first- and second-degree murder in the deaths of Raquell Lynch, 19, and the couple's 8-month-old daughter, Kyirsta Lynch, who were found dead in their South Anchorage apartment April 26.
Prosecutors say Lynch, who shot himself in the head after the deaths of his wife and child, has recovered sufficiently at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., in recent months to be aware of his surroundings.
"Army-trained physicians have said he's competent to stand trial," Anchorage District Attorney Adrienne Bachman said. "Whether or not a state court judge agrees with that may be an issue that has to be addressed, because obviously he has a head wound. But the Army indicates that he has recovered sufficiently."
The Army recently returned Lynch to Alaska as a prisoner and locked him up at the Anchorage jail. Police met him there late Thursday afternoon to serve him with the arrest warrant.
"He accepted it and he thanked the detective," said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker, who was present at the arrest. "I heard him speak and I saw him walk."
Lynch, whose bail is set at $500,000, is due to make an initial court appearance this afternoon.
The family of Raquell Lynch met the news of the charges with mixed emotions.
"We are happy because we want justice on one level," Raquell's brother, 20-year-old Derrick Lopez, said in a telephone interview from Florida. "We're not because no matter what happens to him, we'll never get our sister back. My mom will never get her daughter back."
Lopez said police told the family that Lynch, when questioned by detectives, said he couldn't remember anything about what happened the night his family members died.
"It's sad that he's got to go through this kind of thing," Lopez said. "We're sad, but it's a sign of relief that at least he's kind of back together in his mind a little bit."
Kip Lynch met his wife in high school in Jacksonville, Fla., and they married in 2009 shortly before he deployed to Afghanistan for a year with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
Raquell had recently completed a degree in medical billing and coding and moved to Alaska when he returned to Fort Richardson in February. Anchorage police have said that the violence was out of character for Lynch, who had no criminal history in Alaska.
Police have released few details about the shootings, but Raquell Lynch's family has said detectives told them she was shot while holding the baby in her arms following an argument at their apartment at 9900 William Jones Circle. The bullets went through Raquell and into the baby, according to the family's account.
Lynch then went into the bedroom and turned the gun on himself, firing a round into his head. The bodies were discovered when military police officers showed up about 7:30 a.m. on April 26 after Lynch hadn't shown up for work.
Lynch was initially comatose and unable to communicate, according to police. In late May, Lynch's mother, Terri Lynch, was granted temporary guardianship over Lynch, who was characterized in court records as "incapacitated." The order authorized Terri Lynch to handle his property, finances and legal matters.
The family had Raquell and Kyirsta cremated and their ashes put together in small urns that each member of the family now has, Lopez said. The rest of the ashes were spread off the pier in Jacksonville into the ocean Raquell loved, he said.
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