An Oklahoma couple named by authorities as “primary suspects” in last week’s murder-suicide that left their six children dead faced mounting money woes, while the husband suffered from crippling pain caused by an old head injury, family members have said.
Two adults and six children were found dead Oct. 27 inside a burning home in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow.
Local police on Sunday identified the parents as Brian Nelson, 34, and Brittney Nelson, 32, but provided no information on whether both adults took part in the killings of their children, who ranged in age from 1 to 13.
Brian Nelson’s parents, Danny and Marilyn, told the Tulsa World that their son had asked if they could come over at 3 p.m. Thursday to babysit their grandchildren.
The grandparents asked instead for their son to bring the kids to their home 5 miles away, which Brian agreed to do at 5 p.m.
“Five came and went. Then it was 6. I texted them — no responses,” Danny Nelson said. “I turned on the 6 o’clock news, and they said there had been a fire near Hickory and Galveston in Broken Arrow. That’s where my son lives.”
Police have not released the names of the children who died but the Nelsons identified them as grandson Brian II, age 13; granddaughter Brantley, 9; grandsons Vegeta, 7, Ragnar, 5, and Kurgan, 2; and granddaughter Britannica, 1.
The grandparents said the younger children were named after some of their son’s favorite TV characters.
All six children were found dead in a burning back bedroom, while the two adults were found in the front of the home on South Hickory Avenue. Authorities said causes of death were still pending but they don’t believe anyone died from the fire.
Brian and Brittney Nelson had filed for bankruptcy in 2020, listing $8,803 in assets versus nearly $138,000 in debts, most of which was unpaid student loans, the newspaper reported.
Both indicated they were unemployed at the time and living off of federal and state benefits, the filing said.
The bankruptcy filing also listed nine guns as assets.
Marilyn Nelson recalled that her son always had a pistol in his pocket, for which she said he had a permit.
Brian Nelson’s parents also told the newspaper that he had suffered a severe concussion several years ago while stocking dairy refrigerators at a large retail chain and had been plagued by debilitating headaches ever since.
“I want people to know that at one time he had all his brain together,” Marilyn Nelson said. “I just don’t understand why they did what they did. I just don’t understand why he ended up in that situation. I talk to God all the time — and I just don’t understand.”
Speaking of Brittney Nelson, Brian’s parents said she was stressed from caring for six children, including home-schooling, and struggled with her own health problems.
The couple were high school sweethearts who welcomed their first child shortly after graduation and got married in 2008.
Brian previously aspired to become an actor and spent his time taking college courses instead of holding down a full-time job, while his wife was a homemaker.
“I think the stress was what got to them,” Danny Nelson said, “trying to figure out how to make it from one month, to one month, to one month.”
With Post wires