After suffering three miscarriages, Shanna Riddle Vandewege was ecstatic with the September birth of her first child, a boy named Diederik.
“We went down for the birth of the baby,” said Mark Riddle, Vandewege’s father, in a telephone interview from his Colorado home.
Riddle said he and other family members were looking forward to seeing his 3-month-old grandson next week when his daughter and her husband, Craig Vandewege, were to visit for Christmas.
But Thursday night, the 36-year-old mother and her infant son were found dead inside the family’s north Fort Worth home in the 8500 block of Cactus Flower Drive.
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On Friday afternoon, the Tarrant County medical examiner ruled the baby’s death a homicide, caused by an “incised wound of neck” or cut neck.
A ruling had not yet been made on the cause and manner of the mother’s death.
Officer Daniel Segura, a Fort Worth police spokesman, said the homicide unit is leading the investigation.
Segura said Fort Worth police had gone to the house after receiving a call from Saginaw police around 9:30 p.m. saying that a man had come home to the house on Cactus Flower Drive and found a woman and child dead.
According to the Tarrant County medical examiner, Shanna Vandewege and her infant son were both found dead in beds.
Mark Riddle said his daughter worked as a registered nurse at an area hospital but was still on maternity leave.
He said the couple just moved from Colorado to Fort Worth earlier this year. He said Craig Vandewege, who works at Costco, came to Fort Worth first to find a good home for his expectant wife.
“They picked out the neighborhood that they thought was one of the best neighborhoods they could find,” Riddle said. “Apparently, it wasn’t.”
Riddle said his daughter was born and raised in Colorado and described her as “always happy.”
“She was just deeply loved,” he said.
Brad Daluz, 34, who lives across the street, and Brianna Ayala, 18, who lives down the street from the Vandewege home, said the neighborhood is safe and friendly.
Ayala said she noticed the commotion Thursday night when she left to get food around 10:30 p.m.
“They [the police] didn’t come blazing in,” she said. “They were quiet; that’s what made me think something had already happened.”