Two Minnesota men found in apparent murder-suicide on Lopez were part of sexual assault investigation

Photo courtesy of South St. Paul Public Schools.

Two Minnesota men were found dead on a beach on Lopez Island last week. In the wake of their murder-suicide an even darker story has emerged: the couple were allegedly involved in the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old-boy.

Aric Babbitt, 40, and his husband Matthew Deyo, 36, were found dead on Aug. 25 on the beach at the 3500 block of Fisherman Bay Road, which is near Lopez Village. The cause of death for both individuals was from gunshot wounds. According to San Juan County Coroner and Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord, Babbett died from a gunshot wound, and his death has been declared a homicide. Deyo’s death has been declared a suicide.

“In a homicide-suicide case, it often ends with the entire case wrapped up,” said Gaylord. “The shooter is now dead so there is nothing more from a criminal standpoint.”

A suicide note was found, stating both of the deceased had visited Lopez Island years ago with their dog and loved the island.

The Journal has not been given evidence to indicate a suicide-pact, but Gaylord did say that suicide-pacts are not legal acts. When one person shoots another person it is classified as a homicide.

According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Babbitt was on paid leave from his teaching position at Lincoln Center Elementary in South St. Paul, Minn., and the school district was conducting its own an investigation into alleged sexual activity with a minor.

According to Dakota County court documents, a 16-year-old boy and his parents reported sexual assault to the local police department on Aug. 14. The victim turned in polaroids of him naked with Babbitt, who he described to police as his former teacher, volunteer work supervisor and mentor. The 16-year-old reported that Babbitt agreed to become his mentor when he came out as gay to his family.

Court documents state that in April, Babbitt and Deyo offered to take the 16-year-old to a jazz concert and treat him to a hotel stay. At the hotel room, the victim told police that he was given marijuana and alcohol and instead of going to the concert, they all had sex. Another sexual incident allegedly occurred a few weeks later.

According to the victim, the two men asked the boy and his friend to follow them on the social networking site Tumblr, where there were nude photos of Babbitt and masturbation videos. They also allegedly gave him a password for their porn subscription.

Police also interviewed a third victim, who said he was sexually assaulted by Deyo as Babbitt watched.

After obtaining a search warrant of the couple’s St. Paul home on Aug. 16, officers found a camera hidden in a bathroom clock.

According to the Pioneer Press, on the day of the search “investigators attempted to speak with Deyo and Babbitt and explain the nature of the investigation; neither agreed to provide a statement.”