A man accused of slashing the necks of his wife and 3-month-old son had told a co-worker recently that he was taking a new medication that makes him hear voices telling him to kill people, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The co-worker told investigators that Craig Vandewege also once remarked that he wished he could kill his then-pregnant wife by pushing her down the stairs.
And a few days before Shanna Vandewege and their infant son, Diederik, were found dead in the family’s north Fort Worth home, he recounted a dream in which he “sliced the heads of his wife and father like bologna,” the co-worker told Fort Worth police.
Vandewege was arrested Wednesday night by police in Glenwood Springs, Colo., for allegedly speeding and failing to show proof of insurance. Thursday afternoon, before he could bond out of jail, Fort Worth detectives obtained a capital murder warrant for Vandewege.
Vandewege’s arrest by Colorado police came after a man called 911, reporting that Vandewege had approached him outside a 7-Eleven, said he was running from the law, and asked to borrow his phone to call some people and talk about a murder.
He told the man that the government was trying to conspire against him by saying that he had killed his family.
“Craig Vandewege said he was headed to Las Vegas to see Donald Trump to work it out with him,” homicide Detective Matt Barron wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram.
Vandwege remained jailed Friday in Colorado in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to the affidavit, investigators suspect Vandewege cut the throats of his wife and 3-month-old son prior to going to work on the morning of Dec. 15, then staged the crime scene to look like a burglary. Police found evidence that someone had cleaned up blood from the sinks in the master bedroom and kitchen, the affidavit states.
Vandewege had called 911 on the night of Dec. 15 to report that he had returned from work to find his wife and son dead in the family’s home in the 8500 block of Cactus Flower Drive.
Shanna Vandewege was found in bed in the master bedroom; her son in his bassinet next to to the bed.
Craig Vandewege told dispatchers that neither his wife nor son were breathing and that there was a lot of blood around his wife’s neck and in the bassinet. He told dispatchers he had thought it unusual that the front door of the home had been unlocked when he arrived home and described the house as “torn up” inside.
When Fort Worth police arrived, Vandewege was seated on the curb outside, his eyes slightly watering. He was not crying or acting out.
Inside the house, officers noticed that the kitchen cabinets and drawers had all been pulled open, though their contents remained neat.
Several items of value, including guns, flat-screen television, cellphones and jewelry, remained untouched in the home.
The family’s two dogs were found secured inside a room of the home.
The home’s back door was unlocked, though investigators noted pry marks on the frame that appeared to have possibly been made from both inside and outside the house.
“The door appeared to have possibly been opened when this damage occurred,” Barron wrote in the affidavit.
One of Vandewege’s attorneys, Steve Gordon, has traveled to Colorado to meet with him, according to a statement emailed from attorney Leslie Barrows. Vandewege has waived extradition and will be brought back to Texas by law enforcement officials, his attorneys said.
“Meanwhile, we have begun our own independent investigation into the deaths of Shanna and Diederik,” the statement said. “Their funerals will take place this coming Tuesday. Now, we respectfully request that everyone interested in this matter, please allow the families time and space to privately grieve during this especially difficult time for these families also observing Christmas and Hanukkah.”
‘Asleep or unconscious’
Inside the bedroom, dresser drawers were randomly opened but their contents appeared untouched. Two small fire safes — one that opened with a key and the other a combination — appeared to have been tossed on the floor, open with their contents partially dumped.
“The door was open indicating that someone had to have had the code,” Barron wrote. “Due to the lack of blood leading to and from the safe it appeared to have been impossible that Shanna Vandewege could have gotten out of bed and opened the key pad style safe after having sustained such a severe wound.”
No visible defensive wounds were found on Shanna Vandewege.
“It appeared that she was either asleep or unconscious when the wound was inflicted,” Barron wrote.
Craig Vandewege told investigators that he and his wife had had dinner out together on the evening of Dec. 14, then stopped and bought a 30-pack of beer on the way home. He said the couple then played video games.
When he left for work the next morning at about 10:30 a.m., Vandewege said his wife and son were asleep. He said he kissed his wife goodbye and she woke up, telling him she loved him.
Vandewege told investigators he stopped at a bagel shop to buy coffee for his co-workers before arriving to work at 11:45 a.m. A Costco employee told police that Vandewege was 45 minutes late to work that day.
Vandewege told investigators he had texted his wife about three times between 2 and 3 p.m. but never received a response so he figured she was busy.
He told detectives that he bought his wife diamond earrings that day and a ladder so he could hang their wedding pictures at home.
Vandewege told police he knew of no one who would want to harm his wife or child. He later texted detectives a list of items he said were missing from the home, including his wife’s wedding ring, diamond studded earrings and a pearl necklace.
He said the couple had moved to Fort Worth so he could get a promotion in his job at Costco. He worked in the optical department.
Vandewege told investigators that money had recently been tight with the birth of his son and his wife quitting her nursing job to care for the baby. He said, however, the couple had recently sold their home in Colorado and were looking forward to the money situation improving.
He told police that because work has been stressful, he takes a daily anti-anxiety medication.
Investigators described Vandewege’s behavior as “extremely unusual” — from his overly calm manner when talking to dispatchers about finding his wife and son dead to sleeping and showing little emotion while at the homicide office after the discovery.
He declined to voluntarily give investigators his phone, telling investigators it was an intrusive measure, the affidavit states.
An examination of Shanna Vandewege’s phone showed no outgoing activity that would suggest she was alive after 10:30 a.m. following her husband’s departure for work, the affidavit states.