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Gibson deaths ruled double homicide, suicide

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Winnipeg police have finally confirmed Lisa Gibson murdered her two children by drowning and then took her own life by jumping into the river.

It has been 71 days since the tragic incident on Coleridge Park Drive, but the case was back in the spotlight at a long-awaited news conference Thursday morning.

For the first time, police announced that Anna, 2, and Nicholas, three months, are officially victims of homicide. As well, police said Lisa Gibson died as a result of suicide. Their criminal investigation is now officially closed.

Police say "time-consuming crime lab results" and "in-depth investigating work surrounding forensics" explains the delay in releasing information about the case.

"We’re not going to release information until we’re absolutely certain," said Const. Jason Michalyshen. "It may have been very apparent to the public and the media what took place, but that’s not good enough for us."

There are still plenty of other details police remain silent on, including a Free Press story that the first officers who arrived at the Gibson home somehow missed finding the kids in the tub. It was the grandmother, approximately 30 minutes later, who arrived at the home and made the tragic discovery, according to sources.

News that police didn’t find the children right away led to yet another in a long line of "what if" questions being asked in this tragic case: What if they had been found sooner? Could they have been saved?

Michalyshen would only say Thursday there is an ongoing review of the response by emergency personnel. The results are expected to remain private but will help police determine whether "we could do things better."

"We’re not really going to go into any further detail," he said.

Many other questions remain unanswered as well, including whether it was Lisa Gibson who placed the initial call for help from inside the home. Sources have told the Free Press a woman called, saying, "send police" before hanging up.

"I don’t have those details. I can’t say for sure who that would be," Michalyshen said Thursday when asked specifically who was on the other end of the phone that morning.

Police are also refusing to release a specific timeline of when they got the call, when they arrived on scene, when the children were found and when medical officials believe they died. They also won’t say when Gibson is believed to have drowned herself, as her body didn’t turn up until three days after she killed her children.

Police also won’t say whether any of the reported sightings of Gibson – some thought they saw a woman matching her description pushing a stroller in the neighbourhood – were found to be legitimate.

It's possible more answers could eventually come if an inquest is eventually called by the Chief Medical Examiner's office. A decision on that isn't expected until later this year. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has forwarded all information pertaining to Lisa Gibson to the medical examiner, but will not release it publicly, citing privacy concerns of the family.

Sources have told the Free Press Gibson had been diagnosed with postpartum depression shortly after the birth of Nicholas and was struggling with her mental health in the weeks leading up to the killings.

Michalyshen said Thursday police would not be commenting on what they’ve learned about Gibson and her state-of-mind.

"We’re absolutely sensitive to that," he said, calling the case an "incredibly unfortunate circumstance."

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Updated on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 11:07 AM CDT: adds video

12:24 PM: Write through after press conference.

1:09 PM: Updates with full writethru

1:54 PM: adds new video

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