Family of Burwell murder-suicide searching for answers

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Updated: Mon, 13 Jan 2014 09:57:21 CST

Sunday, on the day of her third birthday, Aimee Melling was laid to rest.  

The Garfield County Attorney has officially ruled the death of Aimee and her father Christopher Melling a murder-suicide, but there are still many unanswered questions and rocks unturned for the family of Aimee and Christopher Melling.

January 12 would have been Aimee Melling's third birthday. But instead of watching her blow out her candles, her family is still trying to put together the pieces.

"Aimee was, she was a really sweet little girl," said Thomas Melling, Christopher's older brother. 

A sweet girl who was found dead along with her father, Christopher Melling, Tuesday afternoon in their Burwell home.

"She was a highlight, a focus. His family was everything to him. He would do anything for his family. He loved his wife. He loved his little girl," said Thomas. 

The Nebraska State Patrol has ruled the 31 year old shot his daughter with a shotgun before turning the gun on himself.

But described as a perfect brother, it's a scene that still doesn't make sense to his family.

"He wasn't impulsive to snap. He didn't have an angry personality. He was just calm, just calm," he said. 

But Christopher's life wasn't perfect.  Police have confirmed on Friday, January 3rd Christopher's wife, Tammy Melling, was arrested on domestic assault charges.  And it's Christopher's wife who his older brother says drew a wedge between Christopher and his family.

"After several years of trying and trying to extend my hand to get along with her and maintain a relationship with my brother, it just became too hard and there was too much negativity and I had to back away," said Thomas. 

Despite problems at home, Thomas Melling is certain his brother was not capable of killing his precious daughter.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he did not do this," he said. 

So what did happen in the time between Christopher's last known activities on the night of January 4th and the day the bodies of Christopher and Aimee were found? Thomas fears evidence has been swept under the rug in an effort to maintain Burwell's reputation as a small, quiet, and peaceful Nebraska town.

"Everything needs to be looked at. Whether it is a small police force or it's a metropolitan police force or it's an international investigative team. The facts still need to be laid out. And that's what we want. We want everything to be looked at. And we're not going to sleep comfortably until we know," said Thomas. 

Thomas and his family ask that anyone with information that could help investigators call the Nebraska State Patrol or the Garfield County Sheriffs Department. 

Christopher Melling's family is holding a memorial Wednesday afternoon at the VFW in Gibbon.