Brutal Murder Of Young Children Stuns Community

From left: Ryan Willhite, 3; Scarlett Gallagher, 1

Two young children were found brutally stabbed at a mobile home late Wednesday night.

Their grandmother frantically called 911 after stumbling upon the nightmarish scene inside the mobile home: a 1-year-old and 3-year-old with multiple stab wounds, the man left to care for them--his throat slit.

Scarlett Gallagher, the youngest victim, was already dead when deputies arrived at the home on Woodmen, three miles east of Powers in the Falcon area. Her brother, Ryan Willhite, survived long enough to be transported to the hospital, where he later died. Ryan was just days away from his fourth birthday.

Deputies found 22-year-old Ethan Courrau in the trailer, dying from an apparent self-inflicted wound.

"He had slit his own throat," a deputy can be heard saying on dispatch tapes obtained by 11 News. Courrau died at the hospital.

According to a family friend, Courrau was the boyfriend of the children's mother, and had been left to care for both kids while she and the grandmother went grocery shopping. The savage attack occurred while mother and grandmother were gone.

The family friend says the mother was four months pregnant with suspect's child.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office has not confirmed the relationship between Courrau and the children's mother. They did say he is not the father of either child, but associated with the family.

Shell-shocked family and friends arrived at the home throughout the day Thursday, leaving stuffed animals and flowers outside in a makeshift memorial for the children. Though most were too grief-stricken to talk, relatives did say they'll never forget Scarlett's beautiful smile, and recall Ryan fondly as a very typical little boy.

A memorial fund has been set up at the ENT Federal Credit Union to help the family out. It's called Memorial Account for Scarlett and Ryan.

The investigation remains in the early stages. Further updates are anticipated from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in the coming days.