— LAMAR, Mo. - A nine-year police officer in this small town an hour and a half northwest of Springfield abruptly quit the force two months ago. Earlier this month, he left the home he shared with his wife and two sons.
Then, early Tuesday, police say Landon Ison, 32, shot and killed his wife, Dana, and seriously wounded his mother in law before driving to a field four miles away and shooting himself. The couple's two sons were not hurt.
Ison's mother in law, Cheryl Thompson, called for help from a neighbor's house about 1 a.m. Tuesday, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Watson. She was taken to a Springfield hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound.
Sheriff's deputies found Dana Ison, 33, dead inside her home.
The search for Landon Ison ended about 2:30 a.m., when his blue Ford Explorer was discovered along a road about four miles outside of town. His body was discovered nearby, next to a rifle.
“I think it’s a terrible thing,” said Lamar Police Chief Ron Hager.
Ison worked for the department since January 2003 - he was a dispatcher before that - and was a good officer, the chief said. Ison quit the job Aug. 7, offering no reason.
Landon Ison had filed for divorce in January, according to court records, but the case was dismissed by both parties on July 11.
Barton County Sheriff Mitchell Shaw said he was close friends with the couple but didn't know all that was happening between them.
“Whenever I was around, they seemed to have a good relationship,” he said. “I can’t tell you what’s been going on recently because I haven’t been right there with them.”
Everyone in the community regarded the Isons as “hard-working people,” he said.
Dana Ison was a social worker and school-age program coordinator for AOK Youth Development Services.
“She loved the children, and they loved her,” read a statement by Kathy Jenkins, president of AOK's board of directors. “She was passionate about making a difference in their lives, and she did. Words cannot express our sorrow at her passing.”
Shaw said he asked state police to investigate the shootings “because of the close personal relationships we all had with Officer Ison.”
Details for this story were reported by the Joplin, Mo., Globe.