APPLE VALLEY, Minn. -- A couple and their child have been killed in an apparent Christmastime murder-suicide in Apple Valley.
The three were found in their rambler home on Ramsdell Drive on Saturday, after Apple Valley police were called about 1 p.m.
Police would not identify the victims Sunday. A neighbor who discovered the bodies said they were David Crowley; his wife, Komel; and their 5-year-old daughter, Rani.
The neighbor, Collin Prochnow, said he had a passing acquaintance with the family. His wife, Judy, said, "Our grandkids would go over and play with their daughter."
It isn't known exactly when the three died, but the Prochnows believe it was sometime near Christmas. That's when they stopped seeing signs of life in the house.
"I assumed they had gone somewhere for Christmas," said Collin Prochnow.
Since Christmas, he said, "I shoveled their driveway a couple of times," even though the Crowleys usually shoveled it themselves.
The neighbors became suspicious last week when they noticed the same lights on in the home day and night.
Collin Prochnow decided to check on them Saturday. As he approached the front door, he noticed Christmas presents sitting unopened on the doorstep.
He peered into the house and saw three bodies and a handgun on the floor and then called police.
According to police radio messages recorded by MnPoliceClips.com, police reported finding the "obviously deceased bodies" on the first floor of the home, along with a "very angry dog.”
"That dog looked thin, and he was already skinny to begin with," Prochnow said.
According to Crowley's LinkedIn profile, he served in the U.S. Army. "After five years I had had enough, and left to pursue filmmaking," the profile says.
Crowley is the director and writer of a movie, "Gray State." Trailers for the film show FEMA agents spying on and killing hundreds of Americans. The tagline for the film is "The Second American Revolution may not be remembered.”
YouTube videos show him promoting the film at several events, including at a Ron Paul rally in Florida in 2012.
Crowley's former business partner, Mitch Heil, said Sunday he was "heartbroken" to hear about the deaths. "He's been one of my best friends since high school," he said.
The two men were friends in high school and then joined the Army together. After basic training, they were stationed in different places but came back together again in the Twin Cities to form a company called The Bullet Exchange, which trained actors to use weapons for film.
Heil hadn't spoken to Crowley since September when they parted ways in business. He said it was normal for Crowley to hunker down to write and then surface several months later, so he didn't think it was odd that they hadn't spoken.
Crowley was a charismatic leader and very creative person, Heil said.
"When it came to business stuff, he was the brains behind everything. I was just there assisting him to reach his vision."
Although Crowley had met with people in California about getting "Gray State" made, nothing had panned out, Heil said.
Crowley met his wife while he was stationed in Texas, where she lived, and they married shortly before he was deployed to Iraq.
"They had a great marriage," Heil said.
Komel had been attending the University of Minnesota, but Heil wasn't sure if she had already graduated.
"He was a great person, a great friend," he said.
Police didn't issue any other details about the crime. The investigation continues, with the help of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Dakota County sheriff's office.
The Pioneer Press is in a media partnership with Forum News Service.